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Hungarian Roots in China

By Felix G. Game

A Washington Post column appearing in the Guardian Weekly on 19 February 1995 tells of a graveyard near Urumchi, the capital of Xinjiang province in northwestern China, which the Hungarian explorer Aurel Stein discovered in 1907. After 80 years of restrictions, Hungarian researchers were again allowed to continue, and have excavated some 1200 graves finding implements and burial methods to closely resemble 9th and 10th century Hungarian graves. Not far from the gravesite they came upon a small ethnic group called the Ugars, of whom there are only 9000. These Ugars knew 73 songs that fit exactly into the five-tone scale on which Hungarian folk music is based as popularized by Bartok. The researchers found the last woman who still knew how to sing their folk music and the Hungarians found that "she sings it just like we Hungarians".


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