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Zofia Charamut


Category I. Plastic arts, ornamentation, handicraft and folk crafts, music and dance folklore

Field of activity:

Wolkowe, Ostrołęka county, Mazovia province

Zofia Charamut was born on 24 December 1933 in Wolkowe village near Myszyniec, in the centre of Kurpie region. She grew up in a Kurpie village, which means not only a large amount of farm work, but also big parties with local bands, dance, the sound of wooden ligawka trumpet, and sentimental songs. Kurpie village residents have developed their own oral literature, traditional customs, ceremonies, music, dance, beliefs and knowledge, relic forms of religion, magic and custom law. Deeply rooted in Kurpie tradition, since early childhood Zofia Charamut has created embroidery, tissue paper flowers, cut-outs, and lacework, and, first of all, has pursued singing. At the age of 13 she started to sing at weddings, and to host wedding parties. She worked all life on the farm, raising a large family. After the children grew up, she retired and returned to passions of her youth. Her artistic creativity has flourished over the past 15 years. Zofia Charamut’s artistic spirit has led her to singing festivals to Myszyniec, and later, to Ostrołęka, Nowogród, Mińsk and Kazimierz. She was invited on several occasions to the Polish Radio and other radio and television stations, where she presented her talent, performing and talking about the Kurpie ceremonies and customs.


Zofia Charamut sings in Kurpie dialect, preserving the authentic performance style typical for Myszyniecka Puszcza Zielona area. Her singing includes all the distinctive features of the Kurpie singing style. In 1998 she performed at the Festival of Folk Bands and Singers in Kazimierz Dolny. She has always been among the winners of singing festivals in which she participated, such as the Mazovian Festival of Folk Bands and Singers, the Ostrołęka Artistic Presentations, the Mińsk Festival of Bread and others. She is the founder and head of the Kurpie od Myszyńca Folk Ensemble.


Zofia Charamut is also a recognised embroidery and lacework artist. Her intricate embroidery has won her numerous first prizes at competitions, for example, at the Kurpie Village Handicraft competition held as part of the Kurpie Honey Collection Festival in Myszyniec (regularly since 1997), and the Festival of Folk Art of Kurpie Puszcza Biała i Zielona held by the District Museum in Ostrołęka since 1998. She also actively participates in ethnographic workshops, lessons of local dialect and classes with students at the Artistic Handicraft School in Myszyniec commune. She willingly shares her extensive knowledge and great talent with others.


Zofia Charamut is also active in non-governmental organizations, such as the Bishop Edward Samsel Society of Friends of Kurpie Region and the Society of Friends of  Myszyniec, and is a member of the Folk Artists Society. She is the main character of the film Zofia Charamut – życie i artyzm Kurpianki (Zofia Charamut – Life and Art of a Kurpie Woman), and appears on the album of 77 most beautiful songs from Kurpie Puszcza Zielona region, as well as on the album Tradycyjne Ludowe Pieśni Kurpiowskie (Traditional Kurpie Folk Songs) released by the Society of Friends of Myszyniec.


In recognition of her long-standing artistic work, she was awarded the distinction For Merit to Polish Culture by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, and a commemorative medal Pro Mazovia for outstanding merit and overall achievement for Mazovia province.


For years, Zofia Charamut has collaborated with the Regional Kurpie Culture Centre in Myszyniec, with the Zagajnica Myszyniecka Kurpie Museum and the School Complex in Myszyniec. She is an active member of the Artistic Handicraft School, where she has run many folk art workshops for children and adults. She represents the Myszyniec commune and the Kurpie region at numerous ceremonies and folk festivals. She is always smiling and full of humour, and willing to talk. The pearl of Kurpie village. It is difficult to imagine Kurpie region without Zofia Charamut and her songs that resound far and wide.


Zdzisław Ścibek