Independence is the supreme value which past generations of Poles fought for.

Edited by Anna Popper

11 November 2023 marks the 105th anniversary of Poland regaining independence after 123 years of partitions (1795-1918). The most important Polish national holiday is celebrated by Poles all around the world. Independence is the supreme value which past generations of Poles fought for. Poland commemorates the restoration of its sovereignty as the Second Polish Republic in 1918, which was also recognised at the international level. On 11 November 1918, General Piłsudski assumed control of Poland after 123 years of occupation. This historic event was a symbol of the beginning of the Second Polish Republic.

On the occasion of the anniversary H.E. Mr. Sebastian Kęciek, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Hungary paid tribute to the memory of one of the fathers of independence and modern Poland by laying flowers at the statue of Józef Piłsudski (1867-1935), a brilliant military leader and statesman, in the 12th district of Budapest.

The connection between Poland’s Independence Day on 11 November and other countries’ Remembrance Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day is notable, as they all share roots in the aftermath of World War I and emerge from the same circumstances.

This year, as part of the Polish Independence Day celebrations, an extraordinary concert was organised at Budapest Music Center (BMC) in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Budapest, the Polish Institute and the Polish Tourist Organization.

The BMC concert hall, a very popular venue in Hungarian music life, was full of enthusiastic guests eager to enjoy the performance of the exceptional VOŁOSI band from Poland. The fact that the band is considered one of the phenomena of international musical life speaks volumes about their artistic excellence and the anticipation surrounding their performances.

In his opening speech, Ambassador Sebastian Kęciek greeted the large number of attendees, including the members of the very large Polish community living in Hungary, fellow ambassadors, diplomats, as well as numerous colleagues and friends of Poland who are engaged in their daily professional work and in various activities to strengthen Polish-Hungarian relations. The invitation to the concert intended to serve as a meaningful and symbolic gesture of gratitude for the recipients, appreciation of their efforts, openness and willingness to act in joint initiatives – he said.

Music has the power to bring people together while transcending language and cultural barriers.

About Vołosi Group:

“New, Energetic, Improvisational, cross-border music from Poland. VOŁOSI’s music is inimitable and incomparable. Truly extraordinary to create something so new and fresh today,” wrote the Musical Cracow.

VOŁOSI is a phenomenon on the world music stage. The band was formed in 2007 after an unexpected meeting between traditional and modern artists, highlanders of the Silesian Beskid mountains. They are classically-trained musicians with astonishing virtuosity and amazing energy. It is a unique string musical formation, playing a fusion of classical and traditional music. They are mainly inspired by the folk music of the Carpathians, but also include elements from Balkan, gypsy, oriental and even rock music, creating a very original sound.

They debuted at the New Tradition Festival in Poland in 2010 and won the Grand Prix. In 2011 they confirmed their success by winning the Grand Prix Svetozar Stracina for the best piece in the ‘World Music’ category in Europe in the contest organised by the European Broadcasting Union. In 2016 the band won the Grand Prix Czech Music Crossroads Award at the Colours of Ostrava Festival.

Members of the string group: The Lasoń brothers are the sons of the eminent Polish composer Aleksander Lasoń, Krzysztof Lasoń plays the violin and Stanisław Lasoń plays the cello. Zbigniew Michałek – violin; Robert Waszut – bass; and Jan Kaczmarzyk – viola and gajdy (a type of bagpipe).

VOŁOSI played over 820 concerts around the world, being hosted by the most prestigious concert halls and festivals such as: Kings Place London (UK), Amsterdam Concertgebouw (Netherlands), Sziget Festival (Hungary), CaixaForum (Spain), Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic), Bae Cheol Soo Show (South Korea), Wiener Konzerthaus (Austria), St Martin in the Fields (UK), Universo Assisi (Italy), Hamamatsu World Music Festival (Japan), Gala of Stockholm Water Prize (Sweden), Sori Festival (South Korea), Shenzhen Music Festival (China), Naxos Festival (Greece), Rainforest World Music Festival (Malaysia), The Opening Gala of Womex 2017 (Poland), TFF Rudolstadt (Germany), Bærum Kulturhus (Norway), VOŁOSI live on BBC in Tune (UK), City Theatre of Brugge (Belgium), Volterra Roman Theatre (Italy) and they continue to tour the world.

Source: Embassy of Poland in Budapest

Photos by the Embassy of Poland and DPA