Márta Sebestyén is best known for her work with Muzsikás as well as for her contribution to the soundtrack of The English Patient, but the Hungarian singer has released a number of solo discs. This is a very worthy addition to her canon. With Sebestyén accompanied by two multi-instrumentalists on a range of instruments (eight of them) as well as her own whistle and drum playing, this is far less stripped-down than it might seem. There's a fullness to her singing and to the arrangements that makes these songs leap out of the speakers. The music is a mix of secular and religious songs from Sebestyén's homeland, all traditional and largely kept alive by the oral tradition. These versions do offer a reinvention of sorts, taking them out of their old, largely a cappella context, but they keep close to the raw heart of the material, finding the sharp beauty of the songs. It's been too long since Márta Sebestyén issued a disc, so that makes this glittering return doubly welcome.
AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson
Valiant Knights: Rare Hungarian Dance Melody/Farewell to the Reigning Prince/Jumping Dance/Hey Rákóczi, Bercsényi, Bezerédi/The Nationalist Soldier Is Pure, His Wife a Pearl/Heyduck Dance/Jumping Dance