Life and career
Sebestyén was born Budapest. Her mother is a composer, and was a music student of Zoltán Kodály. Her father was an economist and author. When Sebestyén was seven years old, her father, returning from a trip to the U.S. as a visiting professor (under a grant from the Ford Foundation), brought home a large collection of ethnic music recordings from the Smithsonian Institution.
Sebestyén was educated at Miklós Radnóti Grammar School, Budapest. She has sung regularly and recorded with the Hungarian folk group Muzsikás. She is known for adaptations of Somogy and Erdély folk songs, some of which appear in Deep Forest's Boheme album, which received the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in 1996. She has also adapted Hindi, Yiddish, Serbian, Bulgarian, Slovak etc. folk songs to traditional Hungarian style.
Sebestyén sang in the movie The English Patient (Szerelem, szerelem). Three songs recorded together with Muzsikás appeared in the Japanese animated movie Only Yesterday. She also sang in and contributed material to the album Kaddish by Towering Inferno (Richard Wolfson and Andy Saunders, 1993). She also sang Rivers' on the multiple artist album Big Blue Ball released in 2008. Costa-Gavras' 1989 film Music Box featured the opening half of Sebestyén's song Mária altatója.
- Apocrypha, Hannibal Records (1992)
- Contributing artist
- "Hungarian folk singer Sebestyen UNESCO Artist for Peace". culture.hu. Hungarian Ministry of National Resources. 2 June 2010.