Magdalena Tyrała, 2022. december

(program polish here)


A három kultúra összefonódott a zenére egy gyönyörű táncban



Magdalena Tyrała, December 2022 (rough translation and correction by Gergely Sámsondi)

original title: Relacja z Festiwalu Czango w Polsce ?


The three cultures intertwined to music in a beautiful dance

The "Third Czango Festival in Poland" took place from 13 to 16 October 2022. This beautiful event brought together the traditional Hungarian, Polish and Ukrainian cultures under a common motto, which - "Among the Carpathian Basin cultures" - was also the main direction of the event. The unification of the instruments of the people of the three nationalities in a common musical performance made it clear that we are able - even in this difficult time of war - to harmonize beautifully and unite in a wonderful dance. Moreover, without taking into account political tendencies, which are completely independent of us.

This is the vision of the most important artist of the festival, Mária Petrás, the best known folk singer and ceramist of the Csángó region.

"I am very happy to have participated in this excellent festival, full of so many dear brothers and sisters," says a touched Mária Petrás. "Today's world is in great need of events through which we can get to know each other and each other's cultures, and thus come closer together, without fear, without prejudice, in very positive emotions," adds the singer.

The first day of the festival started with a "warm-up" at the "Lion's Mouth" club in Gdansk Oliwa: a Carpathian dance house. Once in a while this place becomes a space that brings together people interested in traditional music and dance.

The concert opened with a performance by the Polish-Ukrainian "Galicia Orchestra", a Niwiński ensemble dedicated to the music of the Polish-Ukrainian border region of the former Galicia, a multicultural area on the southern edge of today's Poland, in the shadow of the Carpathians. The performance got the many guests dancing energetically.

After the heart-warming dance, the evening was opened by a short speech by the festival's main organiser Joanna Mieszkowicz and Hungary's Consul General in Gdansk, Attila Pál Illés, who also thanked the Wacław Felczak Foundation for making this wonderful event possible. Moldavian and Gyimes Csángó musicians took to the stage, and Hungarian guests Mária Petrás and her accompanists, Róbert Kerényi, Előd Molnár and the Szépszerével orchestra. Kata Reiner and Ágota Hegedűs, two Hungarian dance instructors of the Csángó, enticed the audience to dance. The performance of the Hungarian musicians ended with a very moving speech by Mária Petrás, who concluded with the Polish words: "Long live Poland". The performances were followed by a dance party, accompanied by an impromptu line-up of traditional musicians from the Háromfaluért Association, with Hungarian and Ukrainian musicians, which lasted at its best until late into the night. In the good mood, Mária Petrás also danced with the two Hungarian girls and Polish dancers.

The second day of the festival started with workshops for violin and flute musicians, as well as dance and singing lessons in the Csángó tradition. A press conference for journalists was organised at noon. The conference was addressed by Mária Petrás, Farkas Gyulai Csángó music artist, and Paweł Borkowski, curator of the exhibition of Mária Petrás, and Attila Pál Illés, Hungary's Consul General in Gdansk, who gave a nice introduction to the idea of the event. We are very happy that we can play music and dance together as a sign of unity."

Start of the festival

"Every nation has its own history, deeply inscribed in its cultural heritage, and we want to bring these values to the surface and use them to enrich our lives" - these were the words of Joanna Mieszkowicz, the main organiser of the event, who officially opened the Third Chángó Festival in Poland. It is important to preserve traditions in everyday life - it unites nationalities, mixed areas such as the area inhabited by the Csángó and the whole Carpathian Basin", she said in her speech at the official opening of the second day of the festival, which took place in the Artus Court House Cultural Centre in Toruń. Dr. Attila Illés Pál, Consul General of Hungary in Gdansk, Dr. Zsuzsanna Orsolya Kovács, Ambassador of Hungary and Michał Zaleski, Mayor of Toruń.

Another highlight of the programme was the opening of the ceramics exhibition of Mária Petrás. The artist has chosen the Virgin Mary, her femininity and motherhood as the subject of her works. On this occasion, the singer sang a beautiful religious song, and afterwards the guests tasted Hungarian specialities: traditional Hungarian Mangalica pork fat with Hungarian paprika; the famous Transylvanian Székely plum brandy; traditional Hungarian two-kilo rye bread, leavened for three days; homemade sour cream served with three-kilo white bread; and scones made at home by the mother of the Hungarian organiser.

The exhibition opening was followed by the main concert of traditional Csángó songs, "From Sunrise to Sunset", with Mária Petrás as the central figure. She sang solo and was accompanied by Hungarian musicians Farkas Gyulai, Gergely Kiss Sámsondi, Róbert Kerényi, Előd Molnár and Vince Mészáros. The stage was completed by two girls from the Hungarian team, also dressed in Csángó costumes.
The concert was followed by a dance performance by all the artists playing Moldavian and Gyimesian Csango music, the Agregandado ensemble with Kujawy melodies, Katarzyna Tucholska Lublin-Radom-Toruń ensemble and the Begebenheit ensemble from Kassa and Pomerania. The musicians performed a circle dance with the festival participants, giving each other great energy and creating a wonderful atmosphere.

"For me, it was a particularly touching part of the festival to be able to host two excellent Polish and Hungarian folk singers, both very warm-hearted and very kind women - Maria Siwiec and Mária Petrás," says Joanna Mieszkowicz.

The third day of the festival began with dance, singing and instrumental workshops led by artists from Hungary and Poland, and the construction of a yurt from Hungary decorated with traditional ancient motifs on the stage of the main hall of the Artus Courtyard. In the yurt, felt-maker Kata Reiner, who runs craft workshops and is a dance teacher, and Ágota Hegedűs, an enamel artist, folk leatherworker, art therapist and craft teacher, organised an exhibition of traditional handicrafts. In the lobby, visitors could also see the eco-friendly building designs of architect Gergely Sámsondi Kiss.

In the afternoon, in the yurt, festival organisers Róbert Kerényi and Előd Molnár met with flute and kaval artists and traditionalists, led by Joanna Mieszkowicz and Magdalena Tyrata, to discuss the ancient instruments present in Csángó music. The meeting was also attended by Kata Reiner and Ágota Hegedűs, who talked about their handicrafts exhibited in the yurt.

But the main concert was preceded by an "Encounter with the music of Podkarpacie, Zakarpatska hucul", with the participation of Sergei Ohrimchuk, Vytek Brody, Pavel Iwan and Józef Sowa, four outstanding Polish and Ukrainian musicians. The meeting was hosted by Joanna Mieszkowicz and Magdalena Tyrała. In addition to their extraordinary knowledge of the music they play, which they have been searching for and researching for years, the musicians gave a masterly demonstration of their extraordinary skills and talents.

The evening concert - "Among the Carpathian Culture" - was a wonderful musical experience. The audience was put in an extraordinary mood by the very energetic music from the Podkarpacie region, performed by the Witek Broda band. This was followed by the music of Hutsia and Transcarpathia, played with the same touching and energetic music by the Szerhij Ohrimcsuk Band. The music and songs of the Moldavian Csángos and the Gyimes Valley were performed by Róbert Kerényi and Előd Molnár, Farkas Gyulai and the Szépszerével Band.

At the end of the concert, the Borvíz orchestra, i.e. Gergely Kiss Sámsondi, the prímás, and his friends took to the stage - along with Hungarian violist Vince Mészáros, the occasional guest artists: Mikhail Kachalov from Ukraine, Martin Niaga from Moldova. The performance at the "Polish Csángó Festival" proved to be highly symbolic, beautiful and moving. The men played together for the first time, and proved that music transcends all divisions by performing together a piece from Transylvania in Calotastia.

We are witnessing a resurgence of love for traditional folk culture in the big cities. The inspiration came from Hungary, where the dance-hall movement began more than half a century ago. Saturday's dance festival during the "Csángó Festival in Poland" is a great proof of this, the fantastic way all participants enjoyed themselves. Artists from three nations played and danced with the audience until dawn in the beautiful halls of the Artus Courtyard. The last hours of the party were spent dancing in a circle in the yurt to the music of the Csango band, played by the Szépszerével band. It was an unforgettable evening.

Farkas Gyulai, the co-organizer of the festival, dreams of infecting as many people as possible with the circle dances and the Csángó music, so that more people can experience the positive emotions that those who are already immersed in the beauty of traditional culture experience. Not only the Csángó culture, but also the different cultures close to us.

Gergely Kiss Sámsondi, as the co-organizer of the interior design of the festival, who is the main initiator and advocate of a human-scale, truly environmentally friendly (no sound system, no plastic, no artificial food, no advertising, no wifi and no propaganda), friendly, family atmosphere and scale of the festival, is pleased that it has been possible to create and maintain this style of the festival and hopes for a similar continuation. He would like to get young Poles more involved in the event next year, despite their loneliness caused by the computer age and the internationally influenced 'social' media.
Ágota Hegedűs would like to see more young artists of different nationalities present.

We have the unmistakable impression that the festival has made this dream come true, as the feedback from festival participants has been overwhelmingly positive.

On Sunday, the closing day of the festival began with the participation in the Holy Mass, during which a ceremonial presentation of a ceramic of the figure of Pope John Paul II by Mary of Petra to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Toruń was made. The ceremony was attended by Dr. Attila Pál Illés, Consul General of Hungary in Gdansk. Piotr Całbecki, Head of the Kujavia-Pomerania Region, also attended the Mass and a short discussion on regional culinary traditions took place. The gift to Toruń is a nice gesture by the artist, thanks to which the people of Toruń will be able to enjoy her exceptional art nearby. It is also a fantastic mark of the "Csángó Festival in Poland", of which the organisers are very proud.

In the afternoon, a boat trip on the Vistula River from Toruń to the Olender Ethnographic Park in Wielka Nieszawka and back. The boat trip was accompanied by rafting tunes played on board by the "Dzielni Fiddlers". Hungarian and Ukrainian songs were also sung. After arriving at the open-air museum, the tour started. Shortly afterwards, the participants were invited to a meeting of lovers of Polish and Hungarian traditional culture, which included performances, a short game and, of course, dancing. In the setting sun, we returned to the deck of one of the raft-boats, playing and dancing.

This was a remarkable way to end the "Third Polish Csángó Festival", which successfully brought nations together in the name of common values. The organisers are looking to the future with hope and expect more meetings in the spirit of the dance festivals.

For the organisers, it was extremely important not only to showcase the cultural and gastronomic heritage, but also to raise awareness of the contribution that everyday frugal consumption - in this case by organising a festival - can make to spiritual development and to opening up to others. - "Experiencing music without a sound amplification system, experiencing participation in dance and movement without excessive artificial lighting, thus saving electricity, allows us to experience being in community and creating intangible values even more," argues Joanna Mieszkowicz, director of the "Csángó Festival" in Poland.

It would be a great injustice and an indiscretion not to mention at this point the huge role played by those - other than the organisers, of course - who co-creators of the festival and without whom it would not have taken such a great shape. First of all, we must mention the volunteers involved: the active senior citizens of the "Kamienica Inicjatyw" (House of Initiatives) in Torun, as well as the traditional dance lovers from the "N-obrotów" Association and the "W TAN" Dance School. Among the many volunteers were also foreign students from Germany, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain, who came as part of the student exchange programme of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, for whom the festival provided an unusual opportunity to get to know each other and other cultures better. The volunteer work was coordinated by the tireless Anna Meina, director of the Maria Montessori Kindergarten in Torun.

We would also like to thank the "Museum of Living Gingerbread" in toruń for their cooperation, which made dozens of large and small toruń gingerbread festival graphics on special order. This allowed us to appreciate Toruń's local traditions and gave us the opportunity to share them with our guests.

Above all, however, we are grateful to the staff of the "Artus Manor House Cultural Centre" in Toruń for their very kind cooperation and for lending us the beautiful space where the main stage of the "Polish Csángó Festival" was set up.

See you next year!

Magdalena Tyrała, Promotion Manager of the "Csángó Festival in Poland