Edit Németh joined the Rajkó Orchestra [link] in 1983. Németh’s grandfather was a musician in the western Hungarian town of Veszprém and the surrounding area, but her parents were not musicians – they ran a shop in Budapest.
She began her training at a music school in the Hungarian capital and joined the Rajkó at the age of ten. There she met her husband, József Toldi, another violinist in the Rajkó. They have two children, a daughter who plays violoncello in the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra and a son who pursued academic studies.
Since leaving the Rajkó, Németh has continued playing in her field of Romani music. She and her husband have performed in restaurants in Budapest and near Lake Balaton, but in recent years they have played primarily in Romani concert orchestras, including what was informally called the ‘grown-up Rajkó’, a post-socialist successor organisation of the League of Young Communists Artists’ Centre. Because of legal conflicts, that group no longer uses the Rajkó name, but members of the ensemble continue to work together, particularly in the 100-tagú Cigányzenekar, known in English as the ‘Budapest Gypsy Orchestra’.
Just as for so many male musicians, as well as for Czinka Panna and some of the Romani women who succeeded her, the business of music is a family affair for Németh: her daughter, a cellist, played with her mother in a women’s ensemble (along with Erzsébet Katona) in 2011–12 and with both her parents in the ‘Hungarian Royal Gypsy Orchestra’ several years later.
At a time when the Romani music industry in Hungary has shrunk radically from what it once was, making a living in this line of work is far from easy. But for Edit Németh, the fact that she is working in the Romani music industry with her family is part of what makes it worthwhile.