Association of Folk Music Animators

She is coordinator of Folk Music Festival “Mikołajki Folkowe”, journalist of Folk Magazine and manager of Orkiestra świętego Mikołaja

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Agnieszka Matecka – Skrzypek is a representative of the Association of Folk Culture Animators from Lublin. She is coordinator of the International Folk Music Festival “Mikołajki Folkowe” ( organized usually second weekend of December since 1991; journalist of Folk Magazine ( the newspaper published by the Association for 20 years; and manager of Polish folk group Orkiestra św. Mikołaja (St Nicholas Orchestra -, and musicians connecting folk and early music Odpust Zupełny (Plenary Indulgence -

Orkiestra św. Mikołaja (The Saint Nicholas Orchestra) is said to have “invented folk music in Poland”. The group was founded in 1988 when traditional Polish music was despised and neglected. Since then we have focused our activities on everything associated with folklore, especially whatever has been condemned to be forgotten and yet can inspire and enrich the contemporary culture. Our source of inspiration is folk music of Poland and of the Eastern Carpathian mountains. The distinguishing features of our music are: originality, complexity, dynamism, “white” vocal. For many years Orchestra used only acoustic instruments, but recently has begun experimenting with a stronger sound. The violins, nyckelharpa, shepherd’s flutes and dulcimer have been joined by the drum set and bass guitar. Owing to that, the group has gained a new sound. We do not aim to modernise the folk source, but to create its continuation on the basis of the contemporary world and our sensitivity to tradition. We are keen on trance and progressive arrangements. Our goal is to harmonise modern influences on our music with traditional ways of playing and singing to achieve a new musical idiom. The group has played over 2000 concerts, including: Rain Forest Festival, EBU Festival in Rudolstadt, Sfinks Festival, and Colours of Ostrava Festival.

Odpust Zupełny (Plenary Indulgence)plays early music in a different way… The musicians of Odpust explore strange dimensions of time and space stretching from the Middle Ages to a village church fair. They refer to court traditions of the West – songs of troubadours and minstrels echoing crusades and battles, political events, as well as love adventures, performed to entertain knights and court. Sources of inspiration can also be traced back to wandering musicians of old Russia, who were the eastern counterparts of entertainers from western Europe. Those artists entertained lords at feasts and folk at fairs, participated in weddings and funerals, performed at church holidays. The repertoire of the group includes songs about knights, solemn, satirical or even frivolous songs, melodies played at feasts, as well as Medieval and Renaissance dances, and even Baroque melodies. Odpust performs Polish early music, ballads from old England, Renaissance Italian dances e.g. La Volta , Saltarello, Spanish songs from the collection “Cantigas de Santa Maria”, Breton branle and many other treasures from the ancient times.

Laboratory of Tradition. St Nicholas Orchestra is not only a musical ensemble. Nowadays, tradition is a branch of art which demands creating new styles and patterns. For this reason, and also because we act at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, we sometimes think of ourselves as the “laboratory of tradition” because like in a chemical laboratory we produce various “cultural reactions” and try new preparations on our audience. Magazine – Apart from playing music we also publish a bimonthly dedicated to folk music and other arts inspired by tradition. The Folk Music Magazine has been published since 1996, with 143 issues so far and more than 3000 articles by 300 authors.
Festival “Mikołajki Folkowe” – Since 1991, usually second weekend of December, we organise the oldest folk music festival in Poland “Mikołajki Folkowe”, presenting music inspired by traditional cultures from around the world. The festival lasts 3 days, usually with 150-200 performers (20-25 groups and soloists), 25 hours of music and 20 hours of workshops, films and meetings. It has an integrating atmosphere of folk music celebration. During its 28 editions more than 500 groups performed at the festival (half of them at “Open Stage”: a concert - competition for debuting artists), together over 2000 musicians from 30 countries



participating in

  • WOMEX, Digital Edition, feat. Budapest Ritmo
  • WOMEX 2019
  • WOMEX 2015


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Mikołajki Folkowe