„Magurzanie” Regional Ensemble
Category IV. Folk groups
Field of activity:
Łodygowice, Żywiec county, Silesian province
The Magurzanie Regional Ensemble was founded in 1984 by Krystyna Mikociak at the initiative of the local community. It operates in the Commune Culture Centre in Łodygowice. The ensemble cultivates the traditions of dance, singing and music of Beskid Żywiecki region, contributing to preservation of the region’s heritage. It has around 100 members in three age groups: Little Magurzanie, middle group and Magurzanie. They include dancers, song groups and folk band members. The ensemble is not only a dance and song group but, first of all, a group of people who have built friendships on the foundation of folk culture.
Magurzanie Regional Ensemble's repertoire includes primarily Beskid Żywiecki shepherd dances and games, Żywiec highlander dances and Żywiec town residents’ dances based on historical records and archive material. Over the 33 years of activity, the ensemble has on multiple occasions reconstructed the events that are typical for Beskid Żywiecki folk culture, and for the Łodygowice commune in particular. These include: Muzyka u Bacy (Shepherd Music), Na imieninach (Name Day Party), Niedziela Palmowa i Wielkanocne Śmirgusty (Palm Sunday and Easter Śmirgusty), Kolędowanie z kozą (Carolling With a Goat), Hołdamas, Dziadajka, Zielone Świątki (Pentecost), Po łodpuście (After Indulgence), Faryna, Zabawy dziecięce przy pleceniu koszyczków (Children’s Basket Weaving Games), Hołdamas przy Młócce (Threshing Hołdamas). In order to develop dance skills and learn about other cultures, the ensemble has also included in its repertoire the dances from selected regions of Poland, such as Łowicz, Cracow, Zaborów and Lachy Sądeckie dances.
For 26 years, Krystyna Mikociak was the ensemble’s head and choreographer. In 2011, she entrusted this responsibility to her daughter Elżbieta Mikociak. For 20 years, the music was supervised by Józef Łanowski; in 2013, Brygida Sordyl took over his role.
The ensemble is well known and has won appreciation at many local, national and international festivals and competitions. Its most important artistic achievements include festival presentations and awards at prestigious competitions: the Festival of Highland Folklore in Zakopane – Brown Hatchet twice; O Łowicki Pasiak Festival of Folklore in Łowicz – 1st prize; the National Festival of Wedding Customs in Węgrów – 1st prize; the Festival of Polish Highlander Folklore in Żywiec – multiple winner of the 2nd prize, 3rd prize and awards of distinction; the Folklore Festival in Favara in Sicily – 1st prize; the Folklore Festival in Devrek, Turkey – 1st prize; the Rural Ensemble Festival in Brenna – multiple 1st prize winner in several categories. For over six years, the ensemble has been a member of the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (CIOFF).
The Magurzanie Regional Ensemble has appeared several times on Polish Television 1, Polish Television 2 and Polish Television Katowice. The ensemble has performed in numerous programmes broadcast internationally by the Polonia Television, such as Beskidy 2002 Polonia Winter Olympic Games, and the Christmas Mass in Kalna in 2011. It released a Christmas carols album Łod Gwiozdecki do Sopecki in 2012.