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Reader feedback: Folk culture lives on

Re: Beautiful sounds, Readers Feedback, December 5-11, 2005

Beautiful sounds yes they are, listening to folk music along with watching folk dancing brought me closer to my Slovak roots.

All of my life I was brought up with Slovak traditions, foods, music, religious celebrations, language, and dancing.

When the time was right I joined the local Slovak folk ensemble in Pittsburgh that was formed to honour and keep the Slovak folk traditions alive outside the homeland.

This group, which was founded in the 1950s, is still active to this day. The Pittsburgh Slovakian traveled across the northeastern US to many functions and shows. During this time I was able to hear the sounds of the fujara.

It left a great impression on me, but it was extremely hard to purchase and acquire folk items. After a long search I purchased three fujaras and started to teach myself how to play. In 1977 I traveled to Slovakia (as a high school graduation gift), to finally meet my relatives and see my family's country.

I also traveled to Detva for the folklore festival and I met Josef Valach from whom I purchased my fujara, the one that I play at events in Pittsburgh and the area.

My love of the culture brought me together with my wife during our time performing with the Slovak folk ensemble, and we raised our children to love their culture.

Over the years we have hosted many visitors from Slovakia and many Slovak events, during which my fujaras have been played, displayed and examined.

These events are part of our effort to promote Slovakia and its customs. Over the past three years our family has traveled to Slovakia and we are pleased to see folk culture is still alive.

Paul J Zatek
Pittsburgh, USA

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