Soubor valašských písní a tanců VSACAN





In 1943, a dulcimer - player, Josef Michalek, iniciated making a dulcimer band in Vsetin. They started to play in the constitution as follows: Milos Haluza (first fiddle), Karel Marek (violin), Josef Sedmik (counter), Karel Haluza (double - bass), Stepan Tomastik (clarinet) and Josef Michalek (dulcimer). A story teller, Alois Cepek, belonged to them too. They amplified their musical activities after war. When new first violinists came in - Messrs Antonin Sousedik a Rudolf Duda as well as other musicians, Messrs Zdenek Kaspar, Josef Basel, Ludvik Schmidt, Karel Proisl, Vlastimil Faikus, Josef Solle, Karel Zezula and Jaroslav Tilschner. In 1947, he suggested the name be changed into VSACAN, a dulcimer band.


One of first bands, behind the dulcimer, founder and a gaffer Josef Michálek

In the middle of the forties, a new revival has developed, especially within the circle of the female teachers - Mrs Kolochova, Slamova, Cernotska and Proffesor Cervinkova. They found a deep interest in the Wallachian embroidery, costumes, songs and dances. The women enrich their teachings in schools and establish first children cultural revival clubs. After the liberation of the country from Natzi yoke, they try to organize the meeting of the old local ladies who still keep the traditional way of life, set up exhibitions and give lectures. A gaffer, Mr Pavlik is also giving interesting lectures, he later becomes the director of the newly established Wallachian culture museum. They all spark affecction for the tradition among the Vsetin public. They are later, joined by the youth and make regular meetings in the Panova Inn in Jasenka. The first dance teacher was the unforgettable old lady Anna Trikova with her accordion. In 1946, the first director is selected, - Mrs Bibiana Sovova. They start to organize "Wallachian banquets" along with leading a ram and giving St. Nicolas parties. Despite its eventful activities, the group still does not have its official name but in October 1947 the "Wallachian association Vsetin" is finally established as a club. As for the leadership of that era, we should not forget the names of ladies - Mrs. Boriova, Pokorna and Dedicova and gentlemen - Mr Taborsky, a long time director, and Mr. Richard Pavlik, the director of the Vsetin museum. The very first club dancers were Messrs J. Chovancik, K. and M. Zivotsky, J. Parduba, C. Kraus, D. Tkadlec, A. Olejnicek, F. Vrubel, A. Taborsky jr., brothers Juricas and young ladies - Misses Cervenkova, J. Solkova, D. Poneikova and A. Bartoskova. By 1948, the company had already come up with several important appearances, at the Agricultural exposition in Prague for instance, at the Prague Sokol meeting thereunto, and in many Bohemia and Moravian towns. One of the most successful performances was the renewal of the folk costumes in the Vsacko region. In cooperation with the Ministry of Information, the art company managed to make more than 300 new Vsacko costumes.


The dulcimer band VSACAN, 1949

A little problem arose with providing the appropriate musical accompaniment. In 1978, the group managed to begin a cooperation with Mr Michalek's dulcimer band Vsacan. By uniting of these two groups, the most succesful Wallachian folk group ever was made - The Wallachian club VSACAN - Vsetin. With the fusion, the progress begins. The ensemble creates a solid manpower of musicians and dancers and reaches an outstanding art level, especially thanks to Mr Jaroslav Tilsher, Mr Ludvik Schmidt and a dancer, Mrs Anna Bartoskova. The female singers Jarmila Sulakova and Zdenka Straskrabova joins in 1948. The ensemble also starts to work with the Ostrava radio, records many songs there and begins a very popular broadcasting program called "Through the singing to the heart". Mrs Jarmila Sulakova does her own program of Wallachian songs under the nickname of "Rozarka". Its is not an exception for the ensemble to perform at 70 different cultural events within one year. The ensemble then reaches one of its heights in the colour movie " Wallachia at dance". This movie stars, ensamble's odzemek dancers Messrs J. Parduba, A. Olejnicek, D. Ruzicka and M. Ekart, the best Wallachian odzemek dancers of this period. This marks the beginning of the effective co-operation with the Czechoslovakia film industry. The year 1950 is not only a great time for the group but it also heralds its first serious crisis. Mr Zdenek Kaspar is leaving because of his misunderstanding with other members. By the end of 1950, after the passing of a new gathering law, the Vsacan ensemble transfers into company club "Zbrojovka Vsetin" and changes its name into "VSACAN, an ensemble of the Wallachian folk songs and dances" by the company club "Z" Vsetin". In these times, the group has 613 members, the archive says. Consequently, only a small number of performers and fans are allowed to enter the newly established body. At the eve of the 10th anniversary, the group can boast more than 300 performances all over the country, 30 programs for the radio, 200 songs and two film shotings.


Female singers, r.1952

After a successful celebration of the 10th anniversary, a second crisis is knocking at the door. The situation between the dancers and the musicians worsens and the most of the music makers leave the company in summer 1953. All who rest are Ivan Straskraba, Ladiaslav Paytel, Zdena Straskrabova-Zouharova and the dulcimer player Mr. Ladislav Michalek who discontinues his musical activities though. The group does not give up and continues. With a great help of namely Miroslav Holub, Antonin Taborsky jr., Dusan Ruzicka, Miroslav Ekart and Ivan Straskraba. The main aim was led toward the creating of a new dulcimer band. The Vsacan takes part at a local contest in 1954, accompanied just by an accordeon but "wins"! The next year the group gets a new dulcimer band and performs again locally and in Straznice.



Primas, Mr. Ruda Duda and The VSACAN dulcimer band in 1952

For the successful help with the managing of the folklore performances at the Spartakiade and for a years - long work in the folklore movement of Wallachia, the ensemble is rewarded by a state medal. It is chosen, as the first amateur ensemble to represent Czechoslovakia at the International folk festival in Llangollen in Wales, quite successfully though, the first place and a gold medal for Mrs Zdenka Straskrabova, and the third for the group in an international contest of twenty performers shows a tremendous international renown. It also opens a door for another foreign trips. The Vsacan visits more than 20 countries of Europe, Asia and Africa (for example France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Turkey, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, Holland, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Egypt and Switzerland).

In 1959, the ensemble is joined by the children's group led by a teacher, Mrs Elice Slamova, one of the founding members. They are called Vsacanek, literally "A little Vsacan" Mrs Alena Skrivankova becomes the next leader of the group and also the leader of the dancing group of the adult Vsacan. A teacher Mrs Miroslava Zapletalova - Pavelkova took the job after her. These two female teachers led the ensemble to a great level and the Vsacanek ranks among the best children's groups in the Czech Republic and visits many international and home stages. After Mrs Zapletalova having left the group,it is led by another teacher Darina Kopecka for three years and currently is under the leadership of Jana Koutna, a female dancer of the adult group. The organizational manager is Mr Ivo Dancak. The integral part of the ensemble is the children's dulcimer band, conducted by Rudolf Magdon.

In 1979, the children's group gets a little brother, another ensaemble, "Maly Vsacanek - Little Vsacanek", thanks to Mr and Mrs Magdon, with the little kids, aging from 4 to 7. They prepare for the Vsacanek group by playing games, chanting and singing. Unfortunately, "The very little Vsacanek" ends its activity in 1999 and comes under the wings of Vsacanek as a folk prep school.­