“Byrtków” Band

“Byrtków” Band is one of the few remaining authentic goral bands from Beskid Żywiecki. Edward Byrtek, is currently considered to be the most distnguished bagpiper in the region, while his brother–Władysław (living in Pewla Wielka in Jeleśnia municipality), is widely known as violin virtuosos. Byrtek brothers also perform as solo artists, but they get together on numerous occasions and perform together as a traditional goral band, with bagpipes specific to the region and violin.

They have continued  musical family tradition, started by their father, Karol Byrtek (1907–1989), legendary self-taught violinist.

Nowadays sons play the same repertoire as their father. These are primarily shepherd melodies, hajduk, siustan,  koń (horse melody), sarna (deer melody), obyrtki. Józef Mikś, who was a distinguished connoisseur of folk music from the Żywiec region, made musical notations of these melodies and the published them in his book “Music of  Beskid Żywiecki”. His aim was to record the traditional way of playing, which has only been preserved in the region. This playing style, called heterophony is based on “bagpipes and violin playing the same melody, to the extent that the instruments and musical imagination of the players allow for it.”

Byrtków band has been particularly recognized for its musical style. The band received the main award at the festival in Kazimierz Dolny in 2008. All brothers have gained numerous awards in their solo and group performances at the Folk Festival of Folk Gorals in Żywiec and at Performance on Original Folk Instruments  Competition in Wieprz near Żywiec.  They also took part in a concert within “Music of the Sources” series, dedicated to the music from Beskid Żywiecki region. The concert took place during the XVIth edition of the Polish Radio Folk Festival, titled “ New Tradition”.

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