Władysław Trebunia-Tutka was one of the most eminent Goral (editor’s note: Polish highlander) multi-instrumentalists and an excellent lead violinist, raised on the music of the masters of the various parts of Podhale from an early age. He was born on 15th February 1942 in Poronin, and died on 3rd December 2012 in Zakopane. He won the Kolberg Prize in 2009.
He was born into the old Trebunia family in Zakopane. Jan Trebunia (1898-1977) began the tradition of family music-making with his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. Jan married Ludwina, daughter of the famous bagpipe player Stanisław Budz-Lepsiok, known as Mróz (1858-1943). His music was listened to not only by Gorols but also by well-known figures in the cultural life of interwar Poland (Kasprowicz, Szymanowski, Chyliński). Mróz took part in the creation of national culture by giving concerts in Warsaw, Lviv, Berlin and in 1925 at the Paris World Exhibition. In 1937, he played at the funeral of Karol Szymanowski. His distinctive Gorol appearance was often portrayed by painters. In 1974 an ensemble named after him was founded in Poronin.
All of Jan Trebunia’s sons – Stanisław, Henryk, Andrzej and Władysław – inherited their grandfather and father’s musical talent. After World War II, they played together with Jan Gąsienica-Julcorz and their cousins (Bronisław and Stanisław Skupień-Filas, Władysław and Andrzej Lassak-Zopotocek, and Stanisław, Jan Trebunia, and Andrzej Trebunia).
The family band with Władysław, then only around twelve years old, as its talented lead performed at many events: feasts, harvest festivals, national holidays, parties of the Podhale Association. They most often appeared at Gorol weddings and dance parties. A significant success for the Trebunia brothers from Poronin was achieving second place in the Sabałowy Competition in Zakopane in 1955, in which one hundred bands from all over the Podhale region took part. In 1978, they participated in the Meetings of Musical Families in Wrocław. In 1983, the band won the first prize in the Podhale Music Competition in Nowy Targ.
Władysław Trebunia was a student and heir of the most eminent masters of Podhale music, including Stanisław Chotarski from Kościelisko and Bronisława Konieczna-Dziadońka from Bukowina Tatrzańska (both were students of Bartłomiej Obrochta). He was often invited to perform with the best Gorol bands; he played in Klimka Bachledy, Holny, Maśniaki, and, in the 1970s, with the Tutka brothers’ band Regle in Poronin, which had Stanisław Budz-Mróz as its patron.
He received his artistic education at the High School of Fine Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, at the Faculty of Painting and Artistic Textile (graduated in 1968). He took part in 35 group and 25 individual exhibitions at home and abroad (in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Canada and the USA). He also practised easel painting, stained-glass painting, glass painting, wall painting, and designing textiles (his wall paintings can be found, among other places, in the Tetmajer House in Podhale, churches in Skrzypne, Wielki Cich, Gliczarowo, Murzasichl, the chapel in Biały Dunajec and Stasikówka).
Since his student days, Władysław Trebunia has been teaching Gorol music, first to his younger colleagues in Gorol student bands in Kraków’s Skalnia and Hyrnia, and after his return to the Podhale region in regional bands (including Harnasie and Białodunajcanie). However, the most important for him was his educational work in the bands Małe Podhale in Biały Dunajec, Zornica in Zakopane, in the Municipal Cultural Centre in Biały Dunajec, which he pursued until his retirement. He raised several generations of musicians and was the greatest authority for many younger violinists.
In the 1980s, the next generation of the Trebunia Family Band – Władysław’s children Krzysztof and Anna and Henryk’s son Stanisław – performed at church ceremonies, at youth meetings (of people from all over Poland) held in the Podhale region, at weddings, christenings, funerals and in huts. The band participated in masses ‘for the Homeland’ in Bystre, Juszczyn and Warsaw. It performed in the play Autoparodia at the Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz Theatre in Zakopane. The band won the main prize twice in the Podhale Musician Competition in Nowy Targ (in 1989 and 1991), as well as the Baszta award at the National Festival of Folk Bands and Singers in Kazimierz (1991). Its successes resulted in artistic cooperation with the Jamaican band Twinkle Brothers and the general popularity of the Trebunia-Tutek Family Band.
In the following years, the band recorded many albums of authentic live music from Podhale, passed on from generation to generation: Baciarujciez Chłopcy; Zagrojcie Dudzicki, Stebo, Kraków, 1993; Music from the Tatra Mountains – The Trebunia Family, Nimbus Rekord, London, 1995; Saga, Folk, Zakopane, 1995; Żywot Janicka Zbójnika, Gamma, Kraków, 1991; Śpiewki i Nuty, Folk, Zakopane, 1994. The oldest and most beautiful melodies from the Tatra Mountains were recorded on these albums, containing all the typical features of Podhale music: unique scales, rubato, vocal and instrumental improvisation, polyphony, its specific harmony and way of singing; they show the great variety and richness of Gorol folklore.
Władysław Trebunia-Tutka was a master and authority in the field of traditional culture for many generations of Gorols, and he was frequently a jury member of Gorol music competitions. He was granted the title of Honorary Member of the Podhale Citizens’ Association and Creator of Honoris Gratia. He was awarded Gold Medals for Merit from Zakopane and the Nowy Sącz region. In 1978 he received the Minister of Culture and Art Award, in 1997 the Stanisław Witkiewicz Award, and in 2009 the Gloria Artis medal from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
Article from www.nagrodakolberg.pl, March 2015, translated into English by P. Grabowski, May 2020