13 / 12 / 22

Kalisz sounds of drums and bass

Kobieta i czterech mężczyzn przykręcają ściski do korpusu bębna.

In the south of Wielkopolska, in the small commune of Sośnie, there is an idyllic town – Kocina. Time flows slower here, and the forested space is filled with sounds from farms, houses and workshops. In one of them, for the last seven months, Krzysztof Rospondek – a musician and traditionalist, passed on knowledge about the construction of regional folk instruments.


In the Master’s workshop…


Krzysztof Rospondek has been making folk instruments, from simple steels to basses unique to the Kalisz region for over twenty years. Although he is considered a master in his profession, as he claims, he still discovers new secrets hidden in the folk music tradition. Moreover, he loves to share it…


The project’s main objective was to protect the intangible cultural heritage of the Wielkopolska musical traditions by organizing workshops on building Kalisz basses, laced drums, hoop drums and steel drums. The project implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage was very positively evaluated and, from the very beginning, supported by the Provincial Public Library and the Center for Culture Animation in Poznań. The participants of the classes were people representing three age generations who nurtured the traditions of building and playing regional instruments while gaining knowledge about the culture of the region of southern Wielkopolska. Students wielded planes, chisels, saws and mallets: Karina Zawadzka, Piotr Kulka, Jakub Sławiński and Cezary Bednarczyk, who gained and expanded their knowledge in the field of building instruments from the Kalisz region. It is worth emphasizing that master Krzysztof Rospondek not only passed on knowledge about the task carried out in the project but also developed the skills to conduct the workshop properly, plan and supervise work and search for new sources of knowledge – both musical and technical.


Instruments created by students under the watchful eye of the Master sounded during a meeting summarizing the project at the headquarters of the Provincial Public Library and the Center for Culture Animation in Poznań. Participants of the meeting could talk to instrument makers, exchange observations, and see a photo exhibition presenting all stages of instrument production: planing slats, tanning leather, stretching membranes, forging bells, carving basses and oiling wood. A film from the workshop was also shown about the project and the Master himself.


Kalisz basses, next to drums, laced and hooped, are unique instruments characteristic of southern and south-eastern Wielkopolska. Formerly popular during weddings and feasts, in pubs and rural courtyards, today they have become mainly an element of local folklore. Thanks to projects such as “Master of Tradition – Kalisz sounds of drums and bass”, the awareness of local cultural identity will not be lost, gaining a chance for further digestion.


Paweł Zawadzki, WBPiCAK

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