Perhaps everything would have been different if Sebestyén Farkas had been given the name Bach. He was a musical genius with a difficult childhood behind him. After school, he usually played the organ in the church, in the summer he sang at weddings and funerals, and if anyone, you could definitely say that he was God’s lamb with a dove’s heart.
It was said in the village that Sebestyén was a spit-out Bach child, his ears, eyes, nose, and even his gait were like those of the sad-eyed teacher Bálint Bach. However, Sebestyén’s mother, Erzsébet Juhász, at the age of twenty-two, on a rainy autumn day – under the protection of her womb, with a life just waking up – yet she stood at the altar by the side of the wealthy forester, Sándor Farkas, who was thirty years older than her. So when Sebestyén was born, he was given the surname Farkas.
The boy received a strict, rough upbringing. Sándor Farkas sometimes beat him with a stick, especially when he felt like it, and it didn’t take much for him to grab a stick. If he didn’t understand something, or if he knew he didn’t understand something, or if he just messed things up, he always blamed someone else for his mistakes and failures: weather, nature, circumstances, people. At such times, he felt that the only way to help his suffering was to grab an axe. As long as he was cutting the wood, there was no problem, but over time he got used to the experience of swinging the stick. The trees never cried. The logs never begged. They split silently, cracked and cracked, but never once did they say that it was enough… to stop.
For a long time, Sebestyén thought that every father between the four walls was the kind who sometimes licked his child with a stick, but when the stick turned into a stick and his pain tormented him even days after the beatings, he decided that if he could, he would just go home to sleep. After finishing school, he mostly spent his days in the church gallery. He practiced for hours, playing Pachelbel, Bach, Bruckner more and more skillfully, and when his cells were filled with ethereal music, he went into the forest. In the beginning, he took smaller trips, eventually longer tours, and then he decided to find the longest continuous hiking trail in the world and walk it as long as it took.
First, he completed the country’s and at the same time Europe’s first long-distance tourist trip, the 1,169-kilometer National Blue Tour, followed by the 2,585-kilometer National Blue Tour, and then went beyond the border. He walked through Italy and collected the Sentiero Italia trophy of 6,166 kilometers. Along the way, wherever he visited, he gave impromptu organ concerts in the churches. The Italian press regularly wrote about him, the articles walking Hungarianwas mentioned as, his music was compared to the music of the angels.
Over time, Sebestyén left the name Farkas behind, and when asked what should be written on the church board, who plays the organ, he answered Sebastian Bach. He was like, let everyone think what they want. Besides, what do people care about a musician who is always on the road. Where he arrived on Monday, he left on Wednesday. Where Friday hit him, Sunday greeted him at most. He didn’t stay anywhere for more than three days. If he received money for the music, he accepted it, if they gave him food and accommodation, he thanked him.
He originally calculated five to seven years for the Trans Canada Trail, the world’s longest, 28,000-kilometer hiking route, but he didn’t mind when it turned out to be fifteen. THE walking HungarianAt that time, the papers already wrote about him as the incarnated spirit of Johann Sebastian Bach. The number of his fanbase swelled to hundreds of thousands, his journey and concerts were followed closely on Twitter, Insta and Facebook.
Sebestyén was not interested in all this. He didn’t become rich, he was famous only as long as he walked, walked, ran, rowed – and played music wherever he could.
After he returned to his village to rest, reporters and television crews searched for him for a while. Over time, they also fell behind. As usual. When he died, he was buried next to his mother, not far from Bálin Bach’s grave. At Fejfája, the young parish priest of the neighboring village gave a speech, who told a lot about God and his son, and about Sebestyén, he said that he loved hiking, visited beautiful landscapes, and brought the kingdom of God to us with his music.
Sebestyén Farkas Bach lived 78 years. He left behind a half-finished biographical book, as well as some phone-recorded concert recordings that can be found on fan blogs. Sebestyén Farkas Bach was a man of few words. Dreamy, constantly dancing goblins lived in his heart, the drumming of their restless feet giving rhythm to an unusual life. Once, after one of his impromptu concerts, Sebestyén was asked what drives him forward, what propels him on his way. He answered this: The silence that remains after a melody is played. And because our life is just music. A song for some, a symphony for others. After that, there is only silence. But it contains everything that lived, sang, strained and swayed before it. Without life, silence is worthless.
Photo: László Várkonyi / MTI National Photo Gallery
Photo: Sándor Mező / MTI National Photo Gallery