Bela in cimbalom shop
Bela built cimbaloms in a modest shop at his Pomona, Calif., home. Somehow, he created things of beauty out of this hodgepodge of machine tools, woodworking equipment and everything else. A fantastic cimbalom player named Corey Beers, based in Los Angeles, asked if the story was true of Bela using the weight of the apartment above his shop to help him press together the cimbalom’s many layers of wood after being glued. It’s true! Bela indeed made a makeshift vice by pressing the glued and layered wood between a 4×4 and a 10-ton capable hydraulic truck lift. C-clamps weren’t good enough for him.
Jim, his uncle Al Vilagi, and the band
On the first Sunday of every month, the Somsak family would head to the Southern California American-Hungarian Club House in Bloomington, Calif. Jim and his uncle, Alex Vilagi, would often play cimbalom. The head of the band was always a violinist, in this case, Julia.
Mr. & Mrs. Lajos Bohak
The highlight of Bela and Margaret’s trip to Budapest in 1972 was a visit with Lajos Bohak Jr., son of Lajos Bohak Sr., who invented the modern-day cimbalom. Bohak Sr. (1870 – 1900) taught his son well. Bohak Jr. further innovated on the cimbalom design. Bohak Jr., passed in 1984. More information on the Bohak story is at https://cimbalombohak.sk/en