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KONIECZNA DZIADOŃKA Bronisława

1894 - 1968

musician, violinist and violin solo artist

 She was born on July 1st in 1894 in Łysa Polana. She was the youngest daughter out of ten children (4 daughters and 6 sons) of Jędrzej Dziadoń, forester in the woods of Count Władysław Zamoyski. Bronisława was used to listening to Goral music from her earliest childhood. Her father, Jędrzej Dziadoń was a well-known storyteller and a decent musician.  He ran a small inn on Łysa Polana on the route to Morskie Oko. He used to play there with his four sons to entertain his guests. Tourists who did their hiking routes in the Tatra mountains would often stop at the inn. Bartłomiej Obrochta – Jędrzej Dziadoń's friend who managed the shelter in the Roztoka was a regular there. As it was close, he would often drop by at Dziadoń's inn and together they entertained the tourists with their stories and Goral music.Bronisława Konieczna mentioned that Bartłomiej Obrochta caried her during her baptism ceremony.

Grandmother was brought up in this particular atmosphere at the turn of the century. In those times Zamoyski bought a part of the Tatra mountains. He then employed the toughest pouchers as foresters. That's how my great-grandfather  Jędrzej got himself a job. For the rest of his life he remained loyal to Zamoyski, and poached only beyond the border. At that time there was a severe border dispute between Galicia and Hungary.  In addition to court disputes, brawls and even murders were commonplace. Greatgrandfather Jędrzej played an important role at the time because he organised all the farmers, got them together, snatched border posts from the Hungarians, pestered border guards...My grandmother participated in all of these events as a small girl. All of this must have had an impact on the character she later developed. – prof. Stanisław Hodorowicz,  Bronisława Konieczna's grandson .

 In those times playing Goral music was exclusively a male activity. Little Broncia really wanted to play, but her father wouldn't allow it. It was unthinkable for the girl to take up a Goral violin. But Broncia was stubborn and she had the support of her godfather, Bartłomiej Obrochta, who (initially in secret) began to teach her goral melodies. She turned out to be a very talented student, and her father eventually had to come to terms with the the fact that the girl plays violin and will play in the future. When Count Władysław Zamoyski heard a ten-year-old Bronka play, he was in absolute awe. During his next visit to Vienna he bought a good violin and then gave it to Bronka. At the age of 12, this time with her father's consent, Bronisława became the lead violinist of the the Dziadonie family band. Her violin from Vienna served her well throughout her entire life.

In  1917 she married  Kazimierz Konieczny and moved to Bukowina Tatrzańska.  She had four children – a daughter and three sons. After the death of her husband in 1937 she continued raising them alone. She ran a small mountain cottage and rented some rooms to tourists in the summertime. She was often visited by famous musicians, such as Olgierd Straszyński with his family. She played at weddings and various other ceremonies. She also accompanied the regional band from Bukowina, when they played locally, on the stage of the Folk House, or when touring.

Prof. Stanisław Hodorowicz recalls: When she was a grown woman, going to a wedding, she would keep a knife in one leather upper and a gun in another (…)  She was an excellent hunter and had a great eye for shooting. She liked to handle horses and to work in the forest. She was also keen on mowing. Typical female chores were not really her cup of tea, although she cooked well and kept her house clean.

 

In addition to collaborating with the regional folk band, she also taught Goral music to the youth from Bukowina. All these people were particularly influenced by her music:  Adam Kuchta, Jan Czernik Gracka, Piotr Chowaniec Kroka, Eugeniusz Wilczek, Józef Koszarek and also Stanisława Galica-Górkiewicz and brothers Stanisław and Józef Bafia. It was thanks to Dziadońka that Bukowina became famous for its musicians – prime violinists.  Goral music experts claim that she was the actual founder of so called bukowinian school of goral music. She was a good and demanding teacher. She didn't accept mediocrity.  She was equally committed to playing at a wedding or village gathering as she was in festival competitions. She demanded the same from her students. She was both respected and feared. It was not uncommon for her to strike a student with a bow on the head. She also promised to pass her excellent violin onto her favourite students: Władysław Trebunia Tutka and Stanisława Galica-Górkiewicz, among others.

She was the first woman to reach a respected, top position in a closed male  closed community of Goral musicians. Even the greatest musicians from Podhale highly respected her.

(…) I was seven or eight when I first heard her. I ran away to the woodshed, sat down there and cried. Never before or after had the music such a profound  effect on me. She liked kids, there was no problem with dropping in, so I often visited  to listen to her or just to listen to the best violin player in the world. I was absolutely convinced that she she is the best. It was simple enough  – I had never heard a better one. Besides, everyone in Bukowina knew that she was the best.

In her older years she felt lonley and forgotten. Goral music gave meaning to her life. She really wanted to get together with a band from time to time and to play with them, but she had no one to do it with. Elderly people recall that one could often hear Goral music from her house in Olczański Wierch. You could hear from far away, especially on warm summer evenings. Dziadońka played on her own but it seemed as if an entire Goral band were there. You could the the first violin, then the second, changes and transitions in melodies: sabałowkas, bartusiowskas, ozwodnas, the tiny ones, the bandit ones,the peak ones  and  luptowskas. People walking by would stop and listen. Some came from far away just to listen. You would get goosebumps and shrills on you back, they said, the ones who were lucky enough to listen to one of these concerts.

In addition to her artistic soul and “temper”,  Dziadońka was a positive person with a sense humor. She had her favorite proverbs and stories, which she eagerly came back to: np. Hundred shooters, hundred fishermen and hundred musicians – that's three hundred losers.  Or: When Jesus was born, kings, shepherds and all sorts of people went to Betlehem. Musicians went as well. And they played for baby Jesus. In the barn there were donkeys and bulls. One donkey pooped on one musician's leg. And that musician shook it off and started stamping the ground to get it off. From that time on musicians stamp when they play.  Bartos (Obrochta),  told me about it because he was there.

At the end of her life she was very ill. She suffered from asthma, rheumatism deformed her fingers.  But she didn't stop playing and using her violin until the last days of her life. One year before her death she said with regret:  I love my Goral music from when I was a little child...I'd like to live long enough to see a competition of Bartos Obrochta, eh why don't they organise a competition while I'm still alive... ... Bartuś Obrochta –I learned how to play by his side. And I could keep up with his musicians, am not shy...These days the Goral music, oh my, you want to sit down and cry when you listen to that. This one is messed up, that is played awfully to begin with... that Goral music brings tears to your eyes, because it's not played like it should

Even during her stays at the hospital in Zakopane she would play and thus make her stay there more enjoyable, for herself, for other patients and for the staff as well. It was in that hospital that she pronounced her will: her beloved violin should go to the grave with her.

 

She died on the 28 of November in 1968. She lies in the cemetery in Bukowina.   

Goral musicians from all over Podhale bid her farewell by playing Goral music during the funeral procession.

People would gossip that in her youth she used to hang around with thieves and obviously they didn't go to pray in the nearby church (...)  I never had enough courage to ask Dziadońka directly, about what really happened when she was young: I was absolutely terrified of her. This was the woman whose face was marked with time,  but only accentuating her character ..Always with a headscarf tied at the back, grabbing her violin possessively and playing in an absolutely magnificent fashion. She would play in a “bukowiański” style, where every not has its place and character, she wouldn't rush, sometimes it would be sparkly, dynamic, and at other times sentimental, catching your heart off guard, with decors here and there scattered like golden sequins on corset's velvet fabric. Not too much and not too little. All of Bukowina learned how to play from Dziadońka   Jolanta Antecka.

 Bronisława Konieczna Dziadońka with her musical mastery was widely acclaimed  by juries in competitions and in festivals. Despite her immense input and merit in the field of Polish culture, she never received a national award and her music was never fully documented. There are only few  of her recordings remaining in the  Polish Radio station in Cracow and Warsaw and in PAN (Polish Academy of Sciences) Art Institute..

She didn't find relatives who would continue her tradition. None of her children displayed much interest in Goral music.  She used to play with musicians from Bukowina of the time:  Józef Bigos, Józef Wodziak Hudok, Stanisław and  Ludwik Dunajczan Jaworzyncan (brothers) and with Jakub and Stanisław Budza Terescorz (also brothers, with these she played the longest).  Later she played with her talented students. She was able to convey the true spirit of the Tatra mountains, the spirit of the ancient times and of Goral heritage in her play. She played in a clean Podhale style, without impacts or influences from other regions. Her music  was alive and it contained not only perfect technical performance but, more importantly, authentic experiences. She knew an infinite number of melodies from Podhale and she was able to play them in numerous versions and manners. While it was  Bartuś Obrochta who taught her traditional Goral melodies, she was able to create her own, unique musical style, which brought her recognition and fame.

Stanisława Galica Górkiewicz was her only female student and is now a contemporary continuator of  Bronisława Konieczna Dziadońka.

 

 

Participation in significant festivals

1956  – series of performances in Poznań and in other cities in that region

1955  – II  Competition of Podhale Music in Zakopane

1955  –  World Youth Competition in Warsaw

1952 – I  Folk Music (Band) Competition in Zakopane - first prize 

Fonography  (antologie)

2013 – FirstFolk Music (Band) Competition in Zakopane, Zakopane 18-20.04. 1952 – Archival recordings from the Phonographic Collection of the  PAN (Polish Academy of Sciences) Art Institute.

2010 – Musicians, musicians, something will remain after you... - archival recordings from the Phonographic Collection of the  PAN (Polish Academy of Sciences) Art Institute, Development, Promotion and Culture Tatra Agency

 

Bibliography:

2008 – Stanisława Galica Górkiewicz, Bukowina Tatrzańska – Goral Life,  Promo, Cracow

2003 – Beata Zalot, Solo of Grandma Dziadońka, „Tygodnik Podhalański” nr 4

2001 – Jolanta Antecka, In five beats - „Dziennik Polski” nr 300(17486)

1999 – Antoni Kroh,  Cultural Needs Shop, Prószyński i S-ka, Warsaw

1992 – Lidia Długołęcka, Maciej Pinkwart, the Tatra Mountains and Music Wyd. PTTK „Kraj” Warsaw and Cracow

1952 – Włodzimierz Kotoński, After the competition of Goral bands in Zakopane „Wierchy”

1926 – Adolf Chybiński, Bartłomiej Obrochta- memoire, „Wierchy”

 

Author: Stanisława Galica-Górkiewicz, edited by Remek Mazur-Hanaj