Hungarian klezmer queen Katica Illényi, whose whole life is about music.

Of course she is much more than a klezmer violinist, she is there in all genres of music. She sings and dances, she resonates to everything that has a melody, her whole being is an instrument, every single move of hers is about music. For us though, she is the most adored and competent of Jewish folk music the deeply devoted Catholic, who once was the singer and violinist of the Budapest Klezmer Band.

She was not only born into a musician family, her whole world is about rhythm and music. Her mother was a special needs teacher who as a music lover adored playing the piano and her father was a professional violinist. She practiced with her siblings since the age of three, music is her first language. During her high school years, she was able to enroll to the Academy of Music where she realized that there are no boundaries in genres. Classical and pop music, vocal and instrumental music and there aren’t any boundaries between  music and dancing either: All of them are part of a huge melody, one language which cannot be translated to any other language. She explores jazz, swing, operetta and regional Jewish folk music as an exceptional and trained violinist beside of Fegya Jávori in the Budapest Klezmer Band which has reached world fame thanks to her talent. Their six years together is an independent era in the band’s life.

She sings and plays the violin in the group as if no one was watching, she was carefree and happy like when we forget about ourselves under the shower. She is not working when she is singing, simply she is living and breathing. Music becomes spectacle when it is coming from her. She can’t stand to stay in one place when there is music around her she is filled with joy knowing that there is music on the Earth and she is part of it.



She is there at Madach Theatre playing in Fiddler on the Roof, she is where she should be on the roof of all stages and Chagall’s painting comes to life. (It wouldn’t be proper not to mention and thank the former director for the idea – Imre Kerényi).

Most recently Katica, who is a deeply religious and practicing Catholic honored our community with her friendship performing at the Jewish Cultural Festival together with the Israeli Adler Trio. She stands by all causes and will stand by evangelical charity next to being the Jewish folk music’s most popular and most accomplished players in the world.

Of course we will not tell you her age, but there is one thing we can tell: She is very young and looks even younger. May God bless her!

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