Meto Brothers’ Band
1999 Award Recipients
3rd Category: Folk Bands
Łódź Voivodeship, Rzeczyca, Glina
Field of activity: Music
Kazimierz Meto (1922- 2008) and Józef Meto (1939-2001) were born in Glina, Łódź Voivodeship. During the war, Kazimierz was a victim of forced labour in Germany, which resulted in his disablement. The Meto brothers came from Mazovia Rawska, in the area of Rawa Mazowiecka, Biała Rawska and Rzeczyca. It was the only region in Poland whose inhabitants preserved the mazurkas in their unadulterated form, an old dance today meant more for listening to than for dancing. The Meto Brothers’ band was the only ensemble playing in the old nineteenth-century style, which became the core of their wedding repertoire. Kazimierz played the fiddle, and Józef played the traditional three-stringed double bass.
Kazimierz Meto, a talented fiddler, taught himself to play the instrument mostly through listening to Mazovian music at weddings. He made his first fiddle by himself, using a board and some telephone wire. Successively, he learned wedding melodies, mazurkas, obereks, and polkas, which he embellished in accordance with the nineteenth-century style inherited from the musicians of the past. He had a musical personality and was a great improviser. He played his extensive repertoire in many melodic variants. His execution of music was thrilling. He had his own distinct style, playing with great expression and beautiful, singular ornamentation. Oskar Kolberg wrote about the folk violinists of Mazovia:
"A fiddler usually plays what is being sung, embellishing melodies by any means provided by his talent and the instrument absorbing his soul within." And so played Kazimierz Meto.
Józef Meto, bassist and Kazimierz’s younger brother, played his three-stringed double bass in the traditional Mazovian style.
The home of the Meto brothers, located in the picturesque village Glina near the Rzeczyca, became an open house to their disciples and followers of their music; including among many others Dom Tańca (Dance House) in Warsaw alumni Janusz Prusinowski, Katarzyna Andrzejewska and Daniel de Latour. Today, they play their master’s mazurkas at concerts.
Recordings by the Meto Band (approximately 200 songs) are in the collections of the Polish Radio SA, and in the collection of the painter Professor Andrzej Bieńkowski. The band won a Baszta Award – the main prize of the Festival of Folk Bands and Singers in Kazimierz (1983). The band participated in the Tradycyjne Korzenie/Traditional Roots competition at the Fryderyk Chopin – źródła i konteksty/ Chopin – Sources and Contexts Polish Radio Music Festival.
Author: Maria Baliszewska
transl. Grażyna Soczewka / Culture.pl