WATRA team

The “Watra” ensemble was formed in 1996. It brings together over 30 members (children and young people) from Bańska Wyżna. This regional group is led by Małgorzata Chodorowicz, Natalia Szostak, and Paweł Skupień. The band consists of Natalia Szostak, Justyna Szostak, and Michał Stoch. Violin lessons are also offered, with Bartłomiej Fatla serving as the instructor.

The ensemble’s repertoire focuses on the folklore of the Rocky Podhale region. Children in the ensemble learn traditional Podhale singing, dancing, and dialects. They can also get to know local customs and rituals. There is also an instrumental school associated with the ensemble. The ensemble has performed in various places, including Poddębice, at Sabałowe Bajania in Bukowina Tatrzańska, in Nowy Targ, in Bor, in Kościelisko, Bustryk, Biały Dunajec, Czarny Dunajec, Szaflary, Krościenko, as well as in Herencseny, Hungary, and Podbiel in Slovakia. It has participated in reviews and competitions in the Podhale region, where it has won many awards.

In 2014, the ensemble performed at the Festival of Mountain Folklore in Zakopane alongside the renowned artist Małgorzata Babiarz, known as Megitza. The ensemble has achieved various accolades, including the “Złota Maska” (Golden Mask), which is the highest award at the Przepatrzowiny Regional Theater Festival in Czarny Dunajec. “Watra” also actively participates in church and state ceremonies and takes part in charitable events to assist those in need. The ensemble has even made a guest appearance in the music video for the song “Piękne góry, piękne pola” alongside the group Wolanianki.

Here are the main achievements of the ensemble “Watra”:

  1. VI Tatrzański Festiwal Dziecięcych Zespołów Regionalnych “Złote Kierpce” 2015 – Silver Kierpce (2nd place).
  2. XXIV Przednówek in Polany 2016 – Category: Shepherd’s Singing Review, Silver Polaniorski Zbyrcok (2nd place).
  3. 1st Municipal Nativity Scene and Caroling Groups Contest 2018 – 2nd place.
  4. Participation in the “Most Beautiful Braid” Contest as part of the 45th Poronin Summer 2019.
  5. 3rd Municipal Nativity Scene and Caroling Groups Contest 2020 – 1st place.

The ensemble’s instructor, Paweł Skupień, participated in the couples dance competition at the 48th Góralski Carnival in Bukowina Tatrzańska in 2020. Together with his partner, Weronika Cukier, they received a special distinction or award for their performance.

The “Watra” ensemble also co-organizes various events and activities, such as regional workshops with the group “Wolanianki” under the name “Taniec, śpiew i granie” (Dance, Singing, and Playing). They also collaborate with the Podhale Association and the NaSa Bańska Association.


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