Budapest café adopts Welsh language for a day

A popular café in central Budapest, Hungary, surprised guests with a new name, Welsh pop music and a bilingual drinks menu on the fifth annual Dydd Miwsig Cymru (Welsh Language Music Day).

Having hosted Welsh Language Music Day events with live bands in previous years, Budapest café “Három Holló” (’The Three Ravens’ in English) went one step further this year, adopting a Welsh-language name and a specially curated music playlist for one night only.

Visitors to “Y Tair Cigfran” were invited to enjoy a “coffi” or a “cwrw” as they browsed a special edition bilingual drinks menu, with Hungarian and Welsh appearing side-by-side.

To the surprise of locals and tourists alike, the venue featured Welsh-language hits throughout the night, with a range of songs from the likes of Super Furry Animals, Cate Le Bon and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci playing in the background.

Those ordering food and drinks at the counter were also encouraged to put their language skills to the test, thanks to basic Welsh phrases and a Hungarian phonetic guide by Welsh-Hungarian information hub Magyar Cymru.

The unusual “rebrand” was arranged by Welshophile music fan and record collector László Záhonyi, in partnership with Három Holló café and Balint Brunner, Editor of Magyar Cymru.

László Záhonyi, who has been organising Welsh Language Music Day events in his native Hungary for several years, said:

“I fondly remember the moment I came across the Welsh language for the first time.

“I was reading ‘The Pendragon Legend’, a novel by Hungarian writer Antal Szerb, and he claimed the Welsh language had a wonderful sound, like something from another world. Before I knew it, I’d fallen in love with Welsh culture and boasted the biggest Welsh-language record collection in Hungary.”

“I don’t understand much of the lyrics, but that doesn’t stop me. I just listen to the tune and let the words stay a mystery – a story from another world, just like Szerb said it!”

Ágnes Seregély, Head of Marketing at Három Holló said:

“We’re extremely proud to have brought this amazing culture alive in our café, with captivating Welsh music and bilingual signage all across the venue.

“We particularly enjoyed calling ourselves ‘Y Tair Cigfran’ for a day, despite the tough pronunciation, and hope to see many Welsh visitors at Három Holló over the years to come!”

Throughout the year, Welsh-Hungarian events take place across both countries. Last Christmas, residents from Hungary’s “Welshest village” left Welsh people in awe as they held a special concert to build bridges between the two cultures.

Next month, Hungarian and Welsh families will come together in Cardiff for an annual celebration of their close cultural ties. Held in the Urdd Hall of the iconic Wales Millennium Centre, the fourth Welsh-Hungarian Concert and Folk Dance Event is set to take place on 14th March 2020, to tie in with St. David’s Day and one of Hungary’s national holidays.

The concert series is organised by Hungarian-born classical singer Elizabeth Sillo and the Kodály Violin School of Carmarthenshire, directed by Dorothy Singh. Over the years, many acclaimed Welsh and Hungarian folk artists, the ‘1st Hungarian Hussar Banderium UK’ and members of the National Chorus of Wales have all joined the initiative, enriching the event with a wide range of performances from both cultures.