Kazimierz Marcinek


Category II. Master of Tradition

Field of activity:

Rzeszów Land

Kazimierz Marcinek – one of the most distinguished fiddlers of the older generation in Rzeszów Land. While he has been the leader of several bands, he excels the most in solo performances. His style is characterised by highly original virtuoso embellishments.

Nockowa, Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Rzeszowszczyzna (Rzeszów Land)

Kazimierz Marcinek grew up listening to the tunes sung by his mother and accompanied on the harmonica by his father. Excellent memory skills helped him start playing them by ear when he was only four years old. His mother bought him his first fiddle from the local tailor; its strings were made of telephone wire.

After completing music school, Marcinek was an apprentice at the Rzeszów Philharmonic Orchestra. For several dozen years, he performed with wedding bands. Since 2020, he had directed the Kazimierz Marcinek Band (Kapela Kazimierza Marcinka), which is supported by the Municipal Cultural Centre (Miejski Dom Kultury) in Kolbuszowa. He played the first fiddle in all the bands and ensembles he has performed with, the concert engagements taking him to Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Hungary. He has also made a number of recordings and has appeared in television and radio programmes promoting traditional music.

Kazimierz Marcinek lives on the border between the lands of Rzeszowszczyzna, Lasowiacy (Lasovians) and Pogórze (the Foothills). This crossroads of musical traditions is heard in the artist’s music and playing style, which is brilliant, technically accomplished and graceful. To show off all of his skills, he particularly enjoys playing fast melodies. HIs favourite showpiece is the polka pstrykana, which perfectly combines virtuosity and traditional local style.

The musician’s repertoire features some folk tunes that he still remembers from his childhood. He has performed hundreds of obereks, polkas, sztajers and dobranockas. He has never declined support or advice that were sought by the pupils who were flocking to be trained by the fiddle master.

Marcinek’s whole life and accomplishments are a testimony to his position as one of the best, albeit few remaining, musicians who dedicate themselves to the music of the ethnographic borderland located in Podkarpackie Voivodeship. It is no surprise then that amongst his numerous prizes and honourable mentions we can find the specially coveted ‘Baszta’ (‘Castle Tower’) award that he and his band have recently won at the famed Ogólnopolski Festiwal Kapel i Śpiewaków Ludowych (National Festival of Folk Bands and Singers) held at the picturesque town of Kazimierz Dolny.


Lidia Biały – special honourable mention. Editor on Polish Radio Rzeszów, pupil of maestro Kazimierz Marcinek. She has taught several successive generations of folk musicians.

Świlcza, Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Rzeszowszczyzna (Rzeszów Land)

Lidia Biały’s first mentor was Roman Olszowy followed by Kazimierz Marcinek, with whom she has been performing for many years now. Her fiddle technique owes much to that of her master; it is characterised by rich ornamentation in the melodic line.

The artist has won laurels at numerous traditional music festivals and she is now working, at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, on a doctoral thesis about the style of the folk music from Rzeszowszczyzna. She regularly records musicians, singers and ensembles from Rzeszów Land to save their art for posterity.

Lidia Biały passes her knowledge and expertise on to the twenty children that attend the classes run by Fundacja Iskry Siły, a foundation she herself started. She also conducts workshops addressed to young people and teaches folklore at primary and music schools throughout Podkarpackie Voivodeship. Her students have already achieved success in the field of traditional music. They have won trophies at the National Festival of Folk Bands and Singers in Kazimierz Dolny, ‘Sabałowe Bajania’ (‘Sabała’s Tales’) in Bukowina Tatrzańska and the ‘Dziecko w folklorze’ (‘Child in Folklore’) Festival held in Baranów Sandomierski.

Along with her master, Kazimierz Marcinek, she makes sure that the tradition of folk music and its performing styles are preserved and passed down. She initiated the annual Ogólnopolski Festiwal Kolęd i Pastorałek ‘Podkarpackie kolędowanie’ (Carol and Pastorale Festival ‘Carolling in Podkarpacie’), which gathers more than 150 teachers and their pupils from around Podkarpackie Voivodeship to perform together. Earlier in 2023, she was given the Narodowy Instytut Kultury i Dziedzictwa Wsi (National Institute of Rural Culture and Heritage) Award at a contest called ‘Roots and Wings’ for the best master’s dissertation on the culture and heritage of rural areas in Poland.