• August 4, 2014
  • 251

“We are the musical force of the Vilnius Region:” The Gathering of Wedding Party Bands of the Vilnius Region

A sweltering day, cold beer, excellent people, and a lot of fun: yesterday, the 7th Gathering of Wedding Party Bands of the Vilnius Region (Zlot Muzykantów Wileńszczyzny) was held in Bieliškės.

“Once again, we all gather together. We want to show that we are a family–both as musicians and as people. For the first time, the Gathering of Wedding Party Bands of the Vilnius Region accepts participants from other regions. I invited guests, like I would do for my wedding party. We organised the previous gatherings only for ourselves,” told us Jan Jodko, the organiser of the event.

The performers included bands not only from the Vilnius District Municipality but also from Šalčininkai and Trakai District Municipalities. “We wanted to show that the Vilnius Region lives, as our customs and traditions do. We want to hand down those long-lasting traditions to the future generations,” emphasised Jodko.

The organiser pointed out that he opposed to turning the gathering into a dance party. “I still want the band to play at the wedding party, not a DJ. I want the wedding traditions of a bride and a groom leaving their homes with an accompaniment of a march, parental blessing, and while ‘Serdeczna matko’ (‘Dear Mother’) plays,” said Jodko.

Despite some organisational and financial difficulties, Jodko still wants the vent to continue. In his opinion, the bands who play for the longest time cause the least problems, while the younger musicians like to “act like prima donnas.” “Everyone’s busy, not sure if to come. The old guard is completely different–they are very punctual. I said that the event would start at 2 PM, and they came right at the time,” said the host.

One could hear yesterday not only the songs popular at wedding parties, but also rock music. “People think we only play oberek and waltz. We’ll play anything. We want to show that we are the musical force of the Vilnius Region,” said Jodko. The performers consisted of a few generations of the Vilnius wedding bands, including Kryzys, Stare Jare, Wenus, Aleksander Kalinow, Krzysztof Szturo, and other solo musicians.

Antoni Radczenko


Translated by Michał M. Kowalski within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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