New book captures Budapest’s beat era


  • We Love Budapest

6/29/2020 10:07 AM

While London was rocking to the Beatles, behind the Iron Curtain, Budapest had its own beat scene. Produced by the photo archive team at Fortepan, a new book in English and Hungarian, ‘BEAT, POP, ROCK – WALLS AND SPEAKERS’, presents 100 original images from this seemingly innocent era of song and dance.

Photo: Dorka Bartha/WLB

Wild jiving on Clark Ádám tér, outrageous flares on stage and posters from the film Easy Rider – Budapest was far from staid during the Socialist Sixties. A new book from the Fortepan team, BEAT, POP, ROCK – WALLS AND SPEAKERS depicts an alternative side to the city when foreign contact and cultural interchange was extremely limited. 

Photo: Dorka Bartha/WLB

“...Hungarian beat, pop and rock music was an incomparable cultural phenomenon of the years of Socialism, its effect on public taste and public thinking can be said to be very significant. It is no coincidence that there are thousands of images in Fortepan’s collection that actually show this romance of a decade or two, depicting the stars of the day or just ordinary young people…” – writes lyricist and urban historian Tibor Legát in the book’s introduction.

Photo: Dorka Bartha/WLB

Many of these musicians still play in Budapest, giving anniversary shows such as Sarolta Zalatnay a couple of years ago.

This bilingual volume is a fascinating find for any fan of music or for anyone interested in youth activities in the former Eastern Bloc.

3,000 forints. Fortepan, 2020

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