Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It's a Hungarian word for the wistful happiness brought on by drinking and listening to Gypsy music for hours on end.

"One rowdy tableful, riotously calling for wilder music and for stronger wine, was close to collapse. 'They will be in tears soon,' Miklos said with a smile, and he was right. But they were not tears of sorrow; it was a sort of ecstasy that damped those wrinkled eye-sockets. I learnt about mulatsag for the first time -- the high spirits, that is, the rapture and the melancholy and sometimes the breakage that the stringed instruments of Gypsies, abetted by constant fluid intake, can bring about.. I loved this despised music too, and when we got up to go after a couple hours, felt touched by the same maudlin delectation. A lot of wine had passed our lips."
-Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water

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