KYCZERA

(pronounced Kicherah)

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Kyczera is a Lemko ensemble from Legnica (Poland), founded in 1991 by Jerzy Starzyński, who has been also the ensemble's artistic director and leading force. The members of the groups are young Lemkos from Lower Silesia (southern and western region of Poland), whose families were forcibly resettled there from their Carpathian homeland during the infamous "Akcja Wisla" (1947). The ensemble, which numbers 60 people, consists of three groups: singers, dancers and musicians.

Kyczera features in its repertoire a number of traditional Lemko dances like: siyer, dyrda, potryasanyj, madiar, obertan, para za parom, kolechko, vstekla pol'ka. It also performs Lemko ritual customs, for example: excerpts from a traditional Lemko wedding or folk dancing party at the tavern. All the members of the ensemble wear traditional Lemko costumes during concerts.

Kyczera has already given many concerts in Poland and has toured Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Slovakia, and Ukraine. The ensemble has been awarded several prestigious prizes, among them the prize of the Minister of Culture of Ukraine and the Oskar Kolberg Prize, the single most valuable Polish prize for folk ensembles. Kyczera is the only ensemble which has twice been named a laureate of the Ukrainian Festival in Poland. Its popularity has grown as a result of recordings done for the Polish TV and Radio.

In addition to performing, the ensemble has recorded old Lemko songs, dances, customs, rites. The members of the ensemble also collect materials on the history of the Lemko villages in the Carpathians as well as on the history of the forcible resettlement of Lemkos into the northern and western parts of Poland.

Kyczera is a co-founder and initiator of many artistic events. Its activity has paved the way to organizing one of the biggest European folk festival of national and ethnic minorities. The festival "Europe Without Borders", which is held in Legnica, gathers folk ensembles from Italy, France, Jugoslavia, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and other countries.

Right now Kyczera is about to establish a professional Regional Center of Lemko Culture in Legnica. The plans include: A Lemko club, a Lemko restaurant, a Lemko library and archive, as well as a small museum. The Center would serve as a place where Lemkos can cultivate their traditions and where others can learn about Lemkos. In order to realize this plan the ensemble is taking steps to purchase a building. The building that they have in mind has 25 rooms (6 of them measure 50 square meters) with the total of 600 square meters (5,400 sq. feet).

The ensemble, and especially its leader, Jerzy Starzyński, have done a marvelous job over the last six years. They have managed to spread Lemko culture all over Europe and what is even more important they gave Lemkos hope for the future. The ensemble brings young Lemkos together, unites them, makes them proud of their own culture. The ensemble is however in desperate need of financial assistance. It has very successfully lobbied local Polish authorities and has been allowed to purchase the above mentioned two story building for 10% of its market value, that is approximately $10,000.00. This, however is still much more than the ensemble can afford to pay. The director of Kyczera, on behalf of the whole ensemble, and for the good of all Lemkos appeals to everybody who is able to help.
Listed below are the address and FAX number where the ensemble can be contacted:


Jerzy Starzyński
Lemkowski Zespol Piesni i Tanca Kyczera
ul.Krucza 10/1
59-220 Legnica
Poland
fax: 0 -11-48-76-565238





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Originally Composed: June 14th, 1997
Date last modified: January 19th, 2003