Primáš (Hungar.: primás, Servika R.: primašis)

The term primáš refers to the person who plays prim, i.e., first violin in a folk cimbalom band or some other musical group (in a city environment, for example, in a café band). The primáš was the most important musician, whose authority came not only from his musical skill but also from the strength of his personality. The group was often named after him and, in a certain sense, it was understood to be "his". (Sometimes the leader of the group was understood to be another musician, mainly the cimbalom player.) Musicians stood at the top of the social scale in Slovak and Hungarian Roma communities, and the primáš was at the head of this aristocracy. (Members of café bands were held in the highest esteem of all.)

The importance of the primáš is explained by the fact that his playing reflected and shaped the individual tradition of the band: its repertoire and mainly its ornamentation and its agogics.

The primáš usually came from a musical family. He started to gain his experience when, as a child, he played in his family's band, and only when he sharpened his own interpretations did he found his own group.

The primáš was understood to be the representative of the whole band. It was he who negotiated commissions. It was with him that payment was worked out, and he received a larger share than the other musicians.

A primáš usually married the daughter of a musician, which strengthened the musical orientation of the family.

Among the important primáš of south Slovakia from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th centuries were members of the Rácz, Bihári, Berki and Rinaldi families. In Moravia, Jožka Kubík became famous. The Giňa clan emigrated from east Slovakia to Bohemia (Rokycany). From this clan came, e.g. the primáš Karol Giňa, while younger members of the family devote themselves to rompop .


Drenko, Jozef (1997) Z histórie hudobníkov Ráczovcov z Lučenca. In: Romano džaniben 3-4, pp. 53-57.
Giňa, Andrej (1991) Bijav/Svatba. Praha.
Holý, Dušan (1984) Mudrosloví primáše Jožky Kubíka. Praha.
Holý, Dušan / Nečas, Ctibor (1993) Žalující píseň. Strážnice.
Hübschmannová, Milena (1991) Goďaver lava phure Romendar. Praha.
Jurková, Zuzana (1997) O čem vypovídají romská přísloví. In: Romano džaniben 3-4, pp. 45-47.
Taragoš – Lojza, Ladislav (1997) Hudba je můj život. In: Romano džaniben 3-4, pp. 66-69.
Sárosi, Bálint (1977) Zigeunermusik. Zürich / Freiburg i. Br.
Slepčík, Jan (1997) Muzikant přináší mezi lidi úctu a pohodu. In: Romano džaniben 3-4, pp. 48-52.
Taragoš – Lojza, Ladislav (1997) Hudba je můj život. In: Romano džaniben 3-4, pp. 66-69.
Vlačuha, Kalmán (1997) jak jsem se učil hrát na cimbál. In: Romano džaniben 3-4, pp. 41-44.

Sound Recordings

Holý, Dušan (ed.) (1998) Dalekonosné Husle. Muzika Jožky Kubíka a zpěváci z Horňácka, Brno (Gnosis CD G-Music 014).
Holý, Dušan (ed.) (2000) Majstr Jožka Kubík (CD). Brno (Aton).
Image Printable version
Funeral of a "Primáš". Even his violin is taken to his grave (Slovakia).