Trombitáši Štefánikovci is a folk music group formed in 2008. The most distinctive, indeed very striking, instrument they uses is the fujara trombita, a big wooden trumpet akin to, among others, Switzerland’s alp-horn. Typical to Kysuce and the valleys of Upper Považie, especially the Púchov Valley, it was registered in 2017 in the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovakia.
The main members of the band are brothers Ján and Pavol Štefánik and their brother-in-law Pavol Novosad from Nimnice, plus several fellow-musicians also from the Považie region. Three members of the group – Ján Štefánik, Pavol Novosád and Ivan Bobot – are also leading makers of the instruments they play and have won several awards for their work. A fujara trombita can range in length from one to more than five meters. It’s made from the branch of a conifer, cut to length then split, hollowed out and then re-glued and wrapped with bark (or now, in the case of most of those developed, made and used by the group, wrapped with plant fibre). In the past it was mainly used as a signalling instrument, to communicate between
shepherds, its strong trumpet sound and breath-controlled harmonics audible over large distances.
The instrument is Its sound was also used by the Slovak composer Svetozár Stračina, who used it very evocatively in his folk music-based compositions such as ‘Reč Pastierska’ (‘The Language of Shepherds’). The group uses mainly traditional musical instruments typical for the region – not just fujara trombita, which gave the name to the group, but also other pastoral instruments including the fujara (the nearly 2m-tall 3-hole whistle native to the region around Detva in central Slovakia, not to be confused with the fujara trombita, which, as described above, is a wooden trumpet). Last year Trombitáši Štefánikovci released their own CD ‘Grúňom Hore’, which features a wide range of instruments as well as male and female voices. On it the group are joined by several other musicians and singers including Ivan Bobot, Peter Peťovský, Daniel Káčer, Juraj Štefánik, a male singing group from the Púchov Valley, and two guest musicians from Moravian Vsetín, Jura Kašparík and Kačka Mrlinová, The album has been praised by foreign critics including British musician and music journalist Andrew Cronshaw, who reviewed the album in March 2018 in the respected British-based folk and world music magazine fRoots. Trombitáši Štefánikovci will open the final concert of the festival on Sunday, September 16, at the Central European Stage at Hviezdoslav Square in Bratislava.