Tadeusz Paczkowski

* 1962  

  • “It was not us who took the decision only… The whole problem boils down to the fact that in communism it was so that the factories subsidized tickets for their workers. It was like that, when our manager, say, went away to arrange a concert, so he went to a factory he arranged the factory. And, for example, when a ticket cost 50 PLN, an individual paid 10 PLN and the rest was sponsored by the factory. We had an unbearable number of concerts. We used to have 70 concerts a month! We could not bear it! It was just too much for us. So we had 5 concerts a day, you know it was on the go. We felt we could not manage, and at some point we did not want it. We used to say 30, 40 at the maximum. But there was such a big demand….. so tough luck we played, right? But after some time the factories stopped subsidizing. You know? So people had to pay the normal price for tickets. So there were fewer and fewer concerts... until they stopped. (…). [The band] got split -up. A lot of small bands appeared, you know of 5-10 members (…) Later I set up my own band. I got in touch with people and we played little concerts, you know. That’s how we got by. Now, occasionally, some festival, or if they want for a wedding but it is all occasional. So, you know, now our boys go to the market and we play on the market all summer long. When they call us and want us to play and you say 2-3 thousand that… that is impossible. They want a concert for 500 PLN or 1000 PLN… so (…) You [play on the market] for pleasure but you earn your bread and butter, too (laughter).

  • “Here, for example, the Romany [Bergitka], if something happens they do not go to the Gypsy King but sort it all by themselves. They are your opinions and your problems. It is in a different way with us for example Polish Roma, we think that our Polish King is ours and if there are any problems we go to him. He is not a judge he is chosen to be a Gypsy King one can say, right? It is not that he himself, he was born a king. You know what it is like, when one dies then the whole elite of the elders get together and they choose. Yes, it is important that he does not have many wives, or some bad reputation, some racketeering, you know, betrayal, dishonesty or what. And most of all he has to be in the bloodline. So if his father was, then the son, and it must be so you know. Unless people disagree, or what, then they choose somebody else, but it takes negotiations lasting months. You know. He must be respected among the Romany, for his dignity and wisdom, impeccability. It is important that he is not two-faced, you know, dishonest, not some kind of, and he must be respected. This is the first principle, that he must be respected, because even if he leaves his 10 sons and if none of them is respected then…. You know what I mean (…) [Gypsy King] settles disputes, introduces some new rules, but first and foremost he resolves principles not as they say that he introduces other principles. And he keeps an eye on all that so that it worked. Because in our times it is so crazy, everybody does everything himself, you know."

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    Wrocław, 15.07.2017

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    duration: 01:08:30
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“A man would go to a concert, got changed, appeared, sang what he liked, danced and had money for it. Then back to the hotel, so it went, it was a bit luxurious. And now that it is all over, one can earn a living this way...”

skanowanie0009-001.jpg (historic)
Tadeusz Paczkowski

Tadeusz Paczkowski, to whom the family always refers as Adaś, was born on 4 May 1962 in Włocławek (Kuyavian-Pomeranian region) into a family belonging to Polish Roma. He has 9 siblings. His parents as those of the last Romany lived in gypsy camps. Upon the introduction of a ban on it by Polish government in 1962, they settled down in Włocławek, where like other Romany people, they received a flat in bunkhouses. In 1963 those bunkhouses got burnt and the Paczkowskis family received a council flat in a tenement house in Włocławek. Tadeusz’s parents used to deal in trade then, as well as bleaching of frying pans, and the mother occupied herself with fortune telling.Despite the fact that his family is not musical (only the grandfather used to play the violin), Tadeusz himself loved music since early ages and already at the age of 5, while imitating the older Romany people he learned to dance. As a child he used to belong to children’s musical group at the common room. He graduated from 8-class primary school.He used to belong to several different musical groups, and in the 80’s he ended up in the famous Terno Gypsy Musical Theatre founded by Edward Dębicki. It was in the group that he met his future wife Bożena Siwak from Wrocław. After a year of going out together, in accordance with the tradition of Polish Roma, they escape together, which means that they are already married. At the beginning, the families did not assume a positive attitude to this, especially the parents of Tadeusz because Bożena used to come from Bergitka Roma. After a year of living together in Włocławek and after the birth of their first son Gracjan, they get married in a civil and church ceremonies. Then, they move to Wrocław to Bożena’s family, though they spend most of the time touring.In 1984 both his wife and him joined a new group Romandia at Impart Artistic Agency. Then Romandia was taken over by Estrada Poznańska and renamed into the reactivated group Gypsy Song and Dance Group ROMA. They travel a lot all over Europe and Poland with ROMA, having as many as 70 concerts a month. In the meantime their daughter Maria is born and their second son Angelo. Because of their constant touring their children did not finish primary school. They go on a tour round Canada and the USA. On coming back, Tadeusz takes part in the film: “And the violin stopped playing”, which deals with the holocaust of the Romany during the second world war. Next, together with his wife and the rest of the members of ROMA musical group, they take part in Jerzy Skolimowski’s film “Torrents of Spring” in Italy. They are also invited to Cannes to a concert for actors during the film festival, because “Spring waters” was nominated for Golden Palm Award. Then, they go on a tour to the USA again. In the meantime Tadeusz, together with ROMA, takes part in several entertainment programs and concerts in TVP. In 1991 together with ROMA he takes part in the film “Devils, devils”, later the group naturally splits up because of considerable decline of interest in gypsy music. As a result of the change of political system and the opening of borders the Paczkowskis leave for Germany and Great Britain on gainful trips for the time being, they also take advantage of social benefits offered by these countries. They come back to Poland because Tadeusz’s mother dies and less than a month later his father.In 2004 together with the Romany community in Brochów they set up Romani Bacht Association. They build Romany Centre in which there is a gym, a computer hall, common room for children, a recording studio and a big hall meant for holiday gatherings. Within the activities of the Association Tadeusz organizes 9 editions of Romany Festival in Wrocław, which takes place at the Puppet Theatre. This year the Association did not get the funds for the 10th edition.In 2013, Tadeusz took part in the creation of music for “Papusza” film by Joanna and Krzysztof Krauze, where he also acted. At present Tadeusz still lives in Brochów with his wife Bożena. His daughter Maria got married to a Gypsy from Polish Roma and they live in Germany. His son Angelo got married to a Gypsy girl from Bergitka Roma and they live in Scotland. The oldest son Gracjan got married to a gypsy girl from Bergitka Roma and also lives in Brochów. The Paczkowskis have 9 grandchildren. In season, Tadeusz plays in the market square along with his colleagues musicians, he also has the function of the President of Romani Bacht Association.