Danko Pista (1848 - 1903) was the most famous Hungarian folk style song writer, who's life attached to town Szeged.
Danko came from a poor musician gypsy family. His father worked as a musician in Szeged. In this time there were two 'types' of gypsy people by profession, the adobe makers and musicians. Musicians were well dressed and little richer than others, because they worked in high places.
His father died when he was 9 years old. He worked as an adobe maker helping his mother and sisters. Later he learned to play with his father's violin. Danko organised a so called 'pig band' (It was a folk music ensemble created by young men.) They played in small farms of Szatymaz, near to Szeged. His master was his uncle, a well known leader of a gypsy band.
Danko Pista began to compose folk style songs by oneself. Once when he and his band made music in a wayside inn in Szatymaz (Szatymazi csárda) cats came in from the kitchen and the backyard. At this moment born his most popular song.
Egy cica, két cica, száz cica haj,
Kergeti az icipici egeret.
His songs became 'pop-songs', and they kept their popularity up to now. In 1883 the emperor Ferenc Jozsef I. visited Szeged. A gypsy band made a concert for him playing Danko's songs. The emperor sent him a gold jewel for his nice songs. This award helped him to buy a new house.
He becomes well known out of town Szeged. In Nagyvárad he made friends with famous writers and poets like Ady.
When he was young he gets tubercular. His short life was full with suffer. His writer and poet friends sent him to San Remo treating his illness. Some month later he died in Budapest in 1903.
Already in this year people begun to collect for a statue in Szeged. The marble statue made by Margo Ede was inaugurated in 1912.
According to a legend when a virgin girl walks next to the statue, Danko Pista play music for her, but this melody is audible only for her. (It may be true, because my wife heard his music when she was my fiancée.)
What is the Hungarian nota?
In early times songs were made from mouth to mouth, fathers gave them to their sons. These are original folk songs, we do not know who was the original composer.