Music is an integral part of Re:tradition – The Jagiellonian Fair Festival, showcasing both traditional and tradition-inspired Polish and international music. The festival’s programme includes concerts, dances, and workshops dedicated to music. For the past 8 years, the festival has featured a special production – a concert called re:tradition, which serves as the opening event for the music stage on August 18th. This concert brings together artists from the Polish music scene and torchbearers of traditional music, creating a unique and captivating experience. Re:tradition – The Jagiellonain Fair Festival will be held from August 18th to 20th, 2023.
Friday evening will kick off with the festival’s special production, namely the re:tradition concert, which this year will be infused with sounds originating from the Polish Polesie region.
Polesie is a region located at the crossroads of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus. The blending of cultures, languages, and beliefs has greatly influenced its musical heritage. Unfortunately, over time, the rich tradition of singing and instrumental music started to fade away, almost disappearing and being forgotten. However, there were passionate individuals who made a conscious effort to revive and bring attention to the essence of this tradition. They took it upon themselves to transcribe the musical elements anew, ensuring that its old style and character were preserved. By doing so, they brought it back to life, allowing it to be appreciated and celebrated.
In this year’s festival, we are excited to showcase the musical heritage of western Polesie, which has been given new arrangements specifically for the event. On Friday evening, the Festival Stage will come alive with the enchanting sounds of Poleski Skład Smyczkowy (Polesie String Ensemble) and the captivating vocals of the Polesie_PL ensemble.
These talented musicians will bring together the rich regional traditions of western Polesie with the innovative arrangements by internationally renowned composer Atanas Valkov. Additionally, the vocal improvisations of Jagoda Valkov will add a unique and dynamic element to the performances.
Atanas Valkov is a Polish composer and pianistof Bulgarian descent. His music is influenced by a wide range of sources, including Polish and Balkan folklore (due to his roots), electronic music, contemporary styles, and jazz. Atanas has gained recognition both in Poland and around the world for his original compositions. He is known for his arrangements, compositions. He has also produced Kayah’s “Transorietnal Orchestra” which won a platinum award. He has also collaborated with the European Space Agency (ESA) on the album “Ambition”. Additionally, Atanas has contributed his musical expertise to the “Polish Legends” series of short films directed by T. Bagiński. In addition to his work in the music industry, Atanas is also a renowned composer for films and TV series. During the concert, Atanas will be performing alongside his wife, Jagoda Valkov. Jagoda is a multi-talented artist, film and theatre set designer, photographer, and intuitive vocalist who is known for her diverse vocal techniques.
Poleski Skład Smyczkowy is a group of musicians dedicated to preserving and continuing Polish traditional music. They are known for their various musical projects and their involvement in research as well as artistic, and educational initiatives. The group focuses on the repertoire of the Polesie region, which stretches along the Bug River. They draw inspiration from the diverse musical heritage of this area, which reflects the multicultural neighborhood and dialogue between Polish, Ukrainian, and Jewish cultures. Their music is a reflection of the cultural changes and preferences of the residents of Polesie during the first half of the 20th century.
Ultimately, it’s our interpretation of the string music of Polesie that has been lost over time. We play a selection of traditional melodies from the region, including old wedding dances, songs, and musical novelties that were introduced to Polesie villages through shellac records, share the artists of Poleski Skład Smyczkowy.
Poleski Skład Smyczkowy will perform with the following lineup: Mateusz Niwiński – fiddle; Paula Kinaszewska – fiddle; Piotr Herda – fiddle, second fiddle; Bartek Wożniak – baritone fiddle Agnieszka Niwińska – drum, baraban; Jan Tarkowski – cello.
Polesie_PL consists of talented female vocalists who possess a deep understanding of singing techniques and musical traditions from the eastern parts of Poland and Ukraine. Their expertise allows them to work with songs that were primarily learned through solo singing
A significant part of their repertoire comes from archival recordings dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, featuring the singing of women born at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The ensemble’s repertoire includes songs passed down by the last generation of female singers in the region, as well as pieces reconstructed from archival recordings.These songs encompass various themes such as weddings, courtship, love, ditties, lullabies, baptisml songs, and unique tunes which are performed during the transition from winter to spring.When working with songs preserved on old tapes, the ensemble focuses on retaining the local and specific style, relying on both intuition and the vast musical experiences of the band’s members – Agnieszka Szokaluk, Julita Charytoniuk, and Ewa Grochowska.
Among the notable singers whose recordings have influenced the Polesie_PL’s repertoire are Maria Kałużna from Orchówek (born 1894), known for her rich repertoire of ditties and wedding songs in both Polish and local Ukrainian dialect, as well as Maria Majówka (born 1914) from Bukowa Wielka, and others. In turn, Poleski Skład Smyczkowy began their journey with a meeting with Edmund Brożek, a fiddler from Włodawa who was born in 1926. He is likely the only active musician who performs the old repertoire from the region. The group also finds inspiration in archival recordings of singers and musicians from Polesie, including Maria Kałużna from Orchówek, Maria Majówka from Bukowa, fiddler Paweł Słowik from Ryczka, and accordionist Kazimierz Rożkowski from Orchówek. They have also been influenced by Ukrainian fiddlers from beyond the Bug River. These sources serve as important references for the band’s repertoire.
When: 18 August 2023, 19.30-21.00
Where: Festival Stage, Błonia near the Castle
Other musical highlights:
18 August (Friday)
21.00 | Dance party | Hajda Banda / Гайда Банда, Janusz Prusinowski Trio + Guests | Festival Stage, Błonia near the Castle
The festival’s dance floor is a special place where bands perform traditional dance music live. On Friday evening, the band Hajda Banda / Гайда Банда will delight the audience with enchanting melodies from Podlasie and Polesie. Additionally, Janusz Prusinowski Trio will perform alongside distinguished guests invited especially for the Festival.
19 August 2023 (Saturday)
19.30–22.30 | Puuluup [EST]; Lolomis [FRA] | Festival Stage, Błonia near the Castle
The Estonian group Puuluup will introduce us to the sound of the talharpa. This traditional instrument, once associated primarily with the Swedish community on Vormsi Island, has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. The talharpa miraculously survived into the 20th century and, despite its rarity, has garnered increasing interest due to its unique and enchanting sound. Puuluup’s performance is a true testament to their originality. They skillfully incorporate traditional instruments into their music in a completely fresh and unexpected way. Prepare to be amazed by their own compositions, contemporary satirical lyrics, electronic effects, and experimental playing techniques. Ramo Teder and Marko Veisson, the talented members of Puuluup, are sure to delight the audience with their innovative and captivating musical journey.
The second concert will feature the performance of the French group, Lolomis. The fusion of diverse sounds, languages, and emotions they create defies classification into a single musical genre. The charismatic vocalist, Romane Claudel-Ferragui, borrows lyrics from the traditions of many distant corners of Europe. The fusion of acoustic and electronic sounds is masterfully crafted by harpist Elodie Messmer, flautist Stélios Lazarou, and percussionist Louis Delignon. Together, they create a musical landscape that tells stories of love, life, and death, demonstrating that imagination knows no bounds. The fusion of modern sounds with traditional inspirations results in a rich, passionate, and mysterious experience. These are just a few words that attempt to capture the essence of what awaits the audience on August 19th at the Festival Stage.
22.30 | Dance party | The Jagiellonian Fair Orchestra, Cmolaskie Chłopoki, Kapela Batareja | Festival Stage, Błonia near the Castle
The festival’s dance floor is a special place where bands perform traditional dance music live. Saturday evening will kick off with a captivating performance by The Jagiellonian Fair Orchestra, followed by the bands Cmolaskie Chłopoki and Kapela Batareja.
These talented ensembles will take us on a musical journey, starting from the Suwalki region, then moving to Lublin, and finally concluding in the Podkarpacie region.
20 August 2023 (Sunday)
14.00–15.00 | Wernyhora [POL] | The Dominican Basilica, Złota 9
Every year, the Sunday music programme begins with a concert held in the historic interior of the Dominican Basilica. This year, the space will be filled with the captivating music of the Wernyhora ensemble. The trio from Sanok will take the audience on a musical journey to the world of the Boykos. Led by vocalist Daria Kosiek – the granddaughter of the Boykos displaced from the Bieszczady mountain region – the group delves into the rich heritage of the Boyko culture, seeking to rediscover melodies that may have been sung by her ancestors. Accompanied by Anna Oklejewicz and Maciej Harna, who skillfully play historical instruments, Daria breathes new life into these original tunes and lyrics, adorning them with fresh musical arrangements. In Wernyhora’s compositions, a wealth of emotions intertwines with thoughtful simplicity in form. The focus is not on exact reconstruction, but rather on exploring unique ways to present the sounds of the past. Prepare to be transported to a world where history and music converge in a truly remarkable performance.
19.30–22.30 | Odpoczno [POL]; Balkan Taksim [ROU] | Scena Festiwalu, Błonia pod Zamkiem
The Festival Stage is a space where tradition seamlessly blends with modernity, where the power of unity gracefully dances with individual flair and where the spirit of togetherness harmonises with creativity. The groups gracing the stage on Sunday evening epitomise this beautiful amalgamation.
One such group is the Odpoczno ensemble, a collective of individuals with diverse musical backgrounds, passions, and visions on how to express the traditional Polish village heritage in a contemporary language. The foundation of their music lies in the traditional melodies from the Opoczno region, which they skillfully combine with new sounds. This intricate mosaic was not created overnight; it is the result of numerous experiments and a dedicated search for the right effects to create a cohesive whole while genuinely exploring tradition. The musicians allowed themselves time for these explorations, employing a trial-and-error approach, immersing themselves in the Opoczno folklore, and remaining open to its reinterpretation. The sound of traditional violin melodies, played by Marcin Lorenec, intertwines with the guitar sounds of Marek Kądziel and the percussion of Piotr Gwadera. Joanna Szczęsnowicz’s vocals, accompanied by distinctive electronic effects, add a unique touch to their performance.
Adding to the excitement of Sunday’s stage lineup is the Romanian group, Balkan Taksim.Sașa-Liviu Stoianovici, a talented multi-instrumentalist, and Alin Zăbrăuțeanu, an electronic artist, draw inspiration from the rich musical heritage of the Balkans. Their inspirations encompass a wide range of traditions, including Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Turkish, and Aromanian tunes.Sașa-Liviu travelled through various corners of the Balkans, connecting with local instrumentalists and singers. He explored the Botoșani region, recording songs and stories of the Aromanians, and ventured to Anatolia, where he discovered the Turkish saz. Balkan Taksim’s music sometimes preserves the original lyrics and parts of melodies, while at other times it builds on the raw sounds of traditional instruments. These foundations are then rearranged and transformed through the use of electronic effects, combined with the distinctive vocals of the singer. The result is a captivating musical experience that offers a glimpse into the rich and diverse musical landscape of the Balkans and its neighbouring regions.
The concerts will be hosted by Magdalena Tejchma (Radiowe Centrum Kultury Ludowej, Polish Radio), and Ewa Grochowska will be responsible for leading the dance parties.
Of course, this is just a fraction of the attractions we have prepared. During the Festival, we’ll present our special production: the “re:tradition” concert, where we’ll be treated to unique musical arrangements by Atanas Valkov, inspired by the traditional music of Polish Polesie, performed by Poleski Skład Smyczkowy and the ensemble Polesie_PL. The Festival will also feature performances by the Estonian group Puuluup, the French ensemble Lolomis, the Sanok-based trio Wernyhora, the band Odpoczno, and the Romanian group Balkan Taksim. Engaging exhibitions, gatherings, and cinema screenings also await. Furthermore, all enthusiasts of folk art and craftsmanship will have the chance to meet artisans and buy their work. Stay updated on the event’s programme through retradycja.eu. More announcements are coming soon.
Re:tradition – The Jagiellonian Fair Festival
18-20 August 2023
Lublin – Old Town, Błonia near the Castle
More information: retradycja.eu
Organisers: Workshops of Culture in Lublin, The Cultural Institution of the City of Lublin, Lublin – The City of Inspiration
Honorary Patronage: Mayor of Lublin – Krzysztof Żuk, National Institute of Cultural Heritage
Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
This year’s edition of Re:tradition – The Jagiellonian Fair Festival is one of the events of the European Youth Capital Lublin 2023 programme.
Sponsors: Tavex, Herbapol
Partners: Jula, Muzeum Narodowe w Lublinie, Ivan Honchar Museum, ÚĽUV, The Dominican Monastery in Lublin, Gardzienice Centre for Theatre Practices, Folk Artists’ Association (STL), Kultura Enter Foundation
Media patronage: Polskie Radio Dzieciom, Radiowe Centrum Kultury Ludowej, Radio Lublin, Presto, CzasDzieci.pl, muzykatradycyjna.pl, KulturaLudowa.pl, Kultura Enter, Onet