Five girls and women are listed among the members who contracted with the Rajkó Ensemble in the 1950s. The best known of these, Zsuzsa Horváth, was called Hungary’s first female Romani band leader – or primás (concertmaster, conductor and soloist) – in her obituary.
Horváth’s father was a primás, too. He was his daughter’s first violin teacher until he died when she was nine. Her mother supported the family as a domestic, and young Zsuzsa supplemented their income by playing in local pubs and then as a founding member of the Rajkó in 1953. She apparently connected with the group through Lajos Boross, who began teaching Horváth for free after her father’s death. Boross was the founding leader of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble and a former band mate of Rajkó artistic director Gyula Farkas. After leaving the Rajkó Ensemble, Horváth founded her own orchestra, which played first in the countryside and then at first-class venues in Budapest (among them the Hilton Hotel), interspersed with tours abroad. Her husband, the clarinettist András Puporka, played in her group, too, as did her son, András Tolnai (born 1978), from the age of eleven onwards. She taught the violin and her pupils included several well-known Gypsy violinists. She retired from public performance owing to heart disease in 2003 and passed away in February 2015.