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Kyczera – keeping the Lemko Culture alive

April 11, 2016

    The "Kyczera" Lemko Folk Song and Dance Group was created in 1991. Its founder and artistic director is Jerzy Starzynski, the members, are young people at the age of 15-25, mainly from Legnica (a town in the south-west of Poland) and its vicinity.

 

    The group was one of the few unique promoters of Lemko folklore, the program of the group comprises of both authentic forms: the spectacle of "Fedory", a fragment of "The Lemko Wedding" and stylized forms: selections of Lemko dances from around Dukla “Do chodu”, “Damskij tanec”, “Lemkiwska polka”, “Kozaczok”, around Gorlice “Potriasnyj”, “Potriaska”, “Kywanyj”, “Dyrda”, “Lemko-walc”, “Szatjerok” and around Grybow “Hulana”, “Koleczko”, “Koszycok”, “Mediar”, girls dance “Kariczka”, “Pastyrskij tanec”, a mix of Lemko Csardas “Verbung”, vocal, musical and dance compositions. Almost all of these are the team’s original works. The group presents their program in costumes from different parts of the Lemko Region from near Krynica (Leluchow – Dubne), Grybow (Bogusza), Jaslo, Sanok (Komancza), Nowy Targ (Jaworki) and Svidnik and Becherov in Slovakia.

    The ensemble has presented their program at international festivals in Mexico, Iraq, Georgia, China, Peru, Indonesia, India, Israel, Portugal, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Italy. Also they toured in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Arab Emirates, Hungary. The band has performed at the European Parliament in Brussels. The group has recorded for the Polish Radio and Television on many occasions.

 

    For their work and commitment "Kyczera" has received awards at prestigious festivals in Poland as well as abroad, including the "Music World" Festival in Fivizzano, Italy; the International Folklore Festival in Zakopane (Poland) and more. The group was also awarded a Lifetime Achievements Award of Oskar Kolberg, Pro Publico Bono Prize and Lower Silesia Key to Success for the best cultural institutions in Lower Silesia.

 

Who are the Lemkos?

 

    Lemkos, according to one theory, are an independent ethnic group, according to another – an ethnographic group of the Ukrainian people. You can also meet with the opinion that the Carpatho-Rusyns ─ a fourth next to the Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians East Slavic nation. Up until 1944 Lemkos lived in the northern Carpathians, areas bordering on Poland and Slovakia. Their number in pre-war Poland was estimated between 100 000 and 150 000 people. In the period of 1944-1946 about 70 percent of the Lemko people were spread-out in the Soviet Ukraine in the framework of the so-called population exchange between Poland and the Soviet Union. Those who remained in Poland were deported in 1947, under the so-called action "Wisla" (Vistula) onto areas of western and northern Poland, where they rapidly assimilated. The situation with the Lemko population in Poland was very difficult until the transition in 1989. Then were established the first Lemko organizations, dedicated to saving and promoting the dying culture and language. During the last census in Poland ten thousand people claimed their Lemko nationality. Lemkos are Orthodox and Greek Catholic. They use the Cyrillic alphabet. In the recent years, they led to the codification of their language (grammar, dictionaries, literature of Lemkos). Lemkos in Poland organized several major cultural events, the largest of which is the "Lemko Watra" ─ the yearly festival of Lemko culture, which attracts Lemko people from all over the world.

 

Regional Center of Lemko Culture in Legnica

 

    The group’s work is not limited to artistic activities. The only regional center of Lemko culture in Lower Silesia works together with the Team. Their pride is the library, which stores publications about Lemko people and the Lemko region. In the culture center there is also a small house for ethnographic events, exhibitions, poetry readings, and lectures devoted to the Lemkos. The association is also involved in conducting field research, archiving, organizing scientific conferences, publishing books etc.

 

    Carrying out these projects, the group has worked with many institutions in the country and abroad (Czech Republic, Mexico, Germany Russia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and other countries).

 

 

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