The concert – „Village Dance Clubs”
The concert entitled „Village Dance Clubs” uses cinema, music and words to tell a wonderful story of restoring the lost tradition of dancing parties which, several decades ago, were fundamental to the development of social relations in the countryside.
A starting point for folk music revival were the experiences of the Travelling Fiddlers’ Collective – students of Jan Gaca, fiddler from the village Przystałowice Małe. The group of urban enthusiasts soon realized that behind a mask of distance and resentment towards traditional music, village residents have a great longing for old-time gatherings and celebration. Thus, dancing parties organized by the Collective became very important for the local community.
The cooperation between the locals and outsiders, both loving traditional music and dances, resulted in the creation of Village Dance Clubs. The idea behind this event is to bring the village community together around its own heritage – the original music, played by regional musicians and their students.
Old-school dance parties take place in fire stations or community centers, and are organized by the residents themselves – local authorities, businessmen, firemen and musicians. Support and promotion of the growing event network is provided by “Tratwa” Association from Olsztyn, and a large group of city-dwelling folk music admirers. All these people are an enthusiast community, whose only profit from this enterprise is joy and satisfaction, simply because Village Dance Clubs exist.
It is a modern – and surprising – encounter of the urban and the rural.
The concert is a tale about five places where Village Dance Clubs are successfully running: Przystałowice Małe, Witaszewice, Wir, Sycyna, Wygnanów. We want to outline the musical roots of these villages through the stories and films by Andrzej Bieńkowski, and to showcase the modern picture by simply listening to folk musicians, their city followers and local promoters of Village Dance Clubs – without them, nothing would have ever happened.
Idea and production: Andrzej Bieńkowski, Mateusz Niwiński
Przystałowice Małe / Przysucha region
Przystałowice Małe is one of the most extraordinary Polish villages in terms of musical traditions, where the fiddle plays an important role. The place has been made famous by the late fiddler and teacher Jan Gaca, whose students came from all over Poland. Two fiddlers representing the best traditions of Kajok music, Tadeusz Jedynak and Jan Kmita, still live in Przystałowice Małe. It is also home of another remarkable fiddler, Piotr Gaca, and women’s vocal group “Przystalanki”, led by Mrs. Krystyna Gaca. The ladies are active promoters of the Dance Club, supported by the local authorities as well.
Wygnanów / near Przytyk, Radom region
Wygnanów is not easy to find on any common map – one would probably need an army map for that. However, this tiny village boasts a great musical heritage. One of the best local harmonists, Tadeusz Lipiec, lives there. The idea for organization of dance club in Wygnanów appeared a few years ago. Thanks to Andrzej Jurkowski, a local businessman, an old school building was transformed into The Folk House, opened in 2011. It was a breakthrough – now, at least twice a year, the best local musicians and their students from all over the country (or even Europe) come to perform in Wygnanów. www.akademiakolberga.pl/wiejski-klub-tanca-wygnanow/
Łęczyca Dance Clubs / Łęczyca region
All started with a group of young people from Łódź, fascinated by the music of the oldest Łęczyca fiddler – Tadeusz Kubiak. They dreamed that sometime the old tunes will be heard and danced to again. With support of Witaszewiacy band (Tadeusz Kubiak’s son is a member), they managed to organize the first party in Witaszewice. Others took place in villages of Lubień and Góra Św. Małgorzaty. Kujon, oberek and polka are the most popular dances.
Sycyna / Zwoleń region
The initiator of Sycyna Village Dance Club was Zdzisław Kwapiński, fiddler and saxophonist. He wanted to recreate the parties he saw near Przysucha in his homeland, and convinced Sycyna residents to share his enthusiasm about the idea. With the support of local firemen, library staff, Educational Society and mayor of Zwoleń, two dance parties already took place. Guests danced to the music from the region of Powiśle, characterized by calm, “stretched” notes, flowing slowly like the currents of nearby Vistula river. Also, saxophones and trumpets are typical instruments for local bands.
Wir / near Potworów, Przysucha region
Wir used to be home of many excellent fiddlers, so the memory of old music has not died even in the 21st century. The first dance party was organized by the firemen and the ladies of a local society, “Wirowianki”. It gathered over 350 guests, who danced mazurkas and polkas played by the old masters of harmonia and fiddle, and their students. Moreover, many people in Wir play these tunes on the harmonica, it is also the birthplace of superb dancers, who – according to the village’s name – really know how to whirl (Wir literally means “a whirl”).
Przystałowice Małe (Radom region)
Jan Kmita/fiddle/, Maria Pęzik/drum, vocals/, Mariza Nawrocka /bass/
Maciej Żurek with band:
Maciej Żurek/fiddle/, Stefan Gaca /drum/
Witaszewice (Łęczyca region)
Witaszewiacy and friends:
Krzysztof Kubiak/accordion/, Stanisław Bagrowski/baraban drum/, Mirosław Andrzejczak/fiddle/, Józef Oleski/trumpet/, Maria Stepień/fiddle/, Kazik Nitkiewicz/trumpet/
Wir (Radom region)
Ryszard Piecyk /harmonica/, Tadeusz Tarnowski /drum/
Wiesława Gromadzka with band:
Wiesława Gromadzka /harmonia/, Piotr Sikora /fiddle/, Jan Wochniak /baraban drum/
Sycyna (Radom-Kielce Powiśle region)
Barbara Michalec/accordion/, Czesław Szymanek/fiddle, cornet/, Kazimierz Gaweł/baraban drum/
Kapela Zdzisława Kwapińskiego i Tadeusza Sałbuta and Zawołany Skład Weselny
Zdzisław Kwapiński/alto sax/, Tadeusz Sałbut/fiddle, tenor sax/, Mateusz Niwiński/fiddle/, Jakub Zimończyk/harmonia/, Agnieszka Niwińska/baraban drum/, Mariza Nawrocka/vocals/
Wygnanów (Radom region)
Tadeusz Lipiec/harmonia/, Mateusz Niwiński/fiddle/, Marian Lipiec/baraban drum/
Tomasz Stachura/accordion/, Marcin Drabik/fiddle/, Karol Stachura/baraban drum/