2006 Award recipient
1st Category: Folk music and dance
Mchowice, Łódź Voivodeship (former Łęczyca Voivodeship)
Field of activity: music
Tadeusz Kubiak was a fiddler from Mchowice (present-day Łódź Voivodeship).
Tadeusz Kubiak was born in 1923 in Mchowice (Piątek municipality, Łódź Voivodeship), where he also lived. He was already interested in music in his early childhood. His first fiddle was hand-made, held together by nails, with wires instead of strings. The young musician made his own bow to go with it (out of a willow stick and horsehair) and began playing his first sounds, which later progressed into melodies.
However, he soon became dissatisfied with playing on such a makeshift instrument. When he was 10, his parents bought him a real three-quarter-sized violin. His first and only teacher was Stefan Szczerbacki (an “audile” musician) from Łódź, who trained Tadeusz Kubiak for three months. At the time, Kubiak lived with his family in Mchowice, He learned how to play violin, and helped around the household in exchange for food and accommodation. He was extremely occupied with learning. He listened to local bands, dreaming about playing along on accordion and drums one day. Back then, there used to be many more accordionists than fiddlers: Czesław Domański from Zagaj, Kazimierz Stajuda from Morakowo, Czesław Kowalczyk from Żabokrzeki, Kazimierz Maksym Matusiak (nickname: Maks) from Bryski. His dreams were halted by the war, and the musician had to pause his plans for several years. During the occupation, he stayed on the German side. The war saw the death of two good fiddlers from the region: Janaszka from Janowice and Feliks Stańczyk from Sulimy.
After the war, Kubiak played together with Czesław Domański for fifteen years, and later teamed up with Kazimierz Stajuda. Musical trends and demands were changing; and so was the standard structure of the bands – the fiddle was becoming less and less popular, giving up its place to brass instruments. For several years, Kubiak continued to play the fiddle or clarinet together with Czesław Kowalczyk, and later Andrzej Krajewski. He proudly proclaimed that nobody could count the total amount of weddings he had played at. He never parted with his instrument – he used to play at dozhinki (a harvest festival), and at folk showcases and festivals. He also taught how playing fiddle (his students included Józef Abramczyk from Mysłówka and Jan Misiak from Mysłówka). He eventually founded his own band, which was associated with the Municipal Cultural Centre in Leśmierz (ZgierzCounty). The director of this institution was Mirosława Walc, who also took care of the band. The group was active on the local music scene and won numerous folk competitions and events. It was formed by Kubiak on fiddle, Paweł Ladorucki on three-row button accordion and Jan Matusiak on drum with triangle.
Kubiak felt comfortable playing both solo and in a band. His band co-members looked up to him and saw him as a kind and adept instructor.
His repertoire, rooted in the traditions of the Łęczyca region, comprised mainly dances in triple meter: kujons, zawijos’s, zabłocioks, mazurs, and obereks – ornamented and played at a rubato pace, with great improvisational and adaptive excellence. Tadeusz Kubiak found genuine pleasure in playing music – he expressed his character and temperament through it. His way of playing was marked by his own personal style, born out of his exceptional sensitivity as a fiddler. Artistically, he represented the highest level of folk performance.
Translation: Ania Micińska / Culture.pl