Vołosi is a music group formed by highlanders of the Silesian Beskid mountains and classically-trained musicians. The string quintet, whose great strength lies in improvisation, joyously and energetically combines genres of music that would seem too distinct to be fused. In their interpretation, the music of the Carpathians is modern and full of life, but does not break its connection with tradition.
Music group formed by highlanders of the Silesian Beskid mountains and classically-trained musicians.
In an interview, the co-founder of the band Krzysztof Lasoń recounts the circumstances in which the musicians met:
We met exactly nine years ago [in 2004] at my wedding, where I wanted a real highland band to play for my guests. The group called themselves Wałasi and I was very lucky, because it turned out that they could sensationally perform songs from the repertoire of highlander music from Beskid Silesia. Over time we became friends. First, we started to play for our own pleasure, then it so happened that we started to perform at various concerts.
In 2007, the band changed its name to Wałasi i Lasoniowie, and invited classical musicians to collaborate - Krzysztof Lasoń and Stanisław Lasoń, and the members of the folk band Wałasi: Zbigniew Wałach, Jan Kaczmarzyk, Zbigniew Michałek and Robert Waszut.
In 2010, under the name of Wołosi i Lasoniowie (already without Zbigniew Wałach) they won the Grand Prix at the New Tradition Festival. This is one of the most important ethnic music events in Poland, and the band made its debut there. Wołosi i Lasoniowie proved to unquestionably be the best in show, as they received all the awards: the Czesław Niemen Special Prize and the audience award Burza Braw (Storm of Applause), as well as the Złote Gęśle (Golden Gusle) individual award for best instrumentalist, which was bestowed on Krzysztof Lasoń.
In March 2011, Wołosi i Lasoniowie's song Zmierzch (Twilight) won the Svetozar Stracin Grand Prix for the best European folk song at the International Folk Competition organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Soon after, they released their self-titled debut album Wołosi i Lasoniowie, which placed second place in the annual competition for the 2011 Folk Phonogram of the Year. Their increasingly frequent foreign trips made them change the name of the band to Vołosi.
The Lasoń brothers are the sons of the eminent composer Aleksander Lasoń. Krzysztof plays the violin, and Stanisław plays the cello. They describe themselves as "instrumentalists associated with Katowice Academy of Music, who always dreamed of improvisation, and who above all loved folklore, with its spontaneity, vitality and beauty."
In turn, the musicians coming from the band Wałasi cultivate local traditions - and they still work and live in the area of Istebna (Cieszyn County). They represent "the music of the Silesian Beskid Mountains, Podhale and Orava Beskidy Mountains, Łemkowszczyzna (an eastern Slavic ethnic group) and other Polish and non-Polish corners of the Carpathians". Zbigniew Michałek plays the violin; Robert Waszut, bass; and Jan Kaczmarzyk - viola and gajdy (a type of bagpipe). Jan Kaczmarzyk was awarded the Oskar Kolberg Prize for promoting folklore.
Vołosi have already given concerts in most of the countries of Europe. They have also visited India, Nepal and Georgia, and shared the stage with artists from various musical “fairy tales”. They have performed, among others, with pianist Janusz Olejniczak, Mamadou Diouf, and Tibetan monks.
They are mainly inspired by the music of the Carpathians, but they are not afraid to include many elements borrowed from Balkan, gypsy and oriental music. This intertwining of influences in their compositions brings them closer to the mainstream of "new ethnic music", associated with the New Tradition festival. In this genre, music with centuries-old traditions can and should undergo mutations, transformations and remixes. On the folk or ethnic scene, opposition to this trend comes from more conservative musicians who believe that the performance of folk music should be faithful to the original and should precisely reproduce the old piece. Such an approach is represented by students of the last real village musicians, the so-called “sound chroniclers”.
Krzysztof Lasoń admits:
You can not say that our band draws inspiration exclusively from folk music and we merely play ethno music. A large part of our ideas comes from classical music, rock, or from events in your lives. Folk music is an important part of our work, but not the only one.
Author: Jacek Świąder, June 2014, transl. GS. June 2014
- 2011 – Wołosi i Lasoniowie
- 2007 – Wołanie (Calling)
- 2009 – Maj (May)
Band's official website: http://www.volosiband.com