Antalík Jozef

Antalík Jozef

from Veľké Zálužie, born in 1898 – d. 1989

Gifted great musical talent, a virtuoso, appreciated by both connoisseurs and simple listeners. He was born on April 3, 1898 in Cabaj-Čapore. He worked hard on the land all his life. He went to school for a short time. He often moved with his family, seeking better living conditions. In spite of poverty, it was cheerful – he recalled – especially on Saturday evenings or Sunday afternoons, when my father used to play bagpipes for dancing on neighbors. So the sounds of bagpipes accompanied Jozef from his early youth. At the age of twelve, he made his first instrument from rye straw.

Before the First World War in Nitra and the area the tradition of playing bagpipes was alive. Bagpipers performed in Malé Janíkovce, Dolné Krškany, Mojmírovce, Komjatice and Párovské Háje. At that time, Jozef liked the "heligonka" (kind of accordion) more, on which he played his older brother, later an outstanding "heligonista". He decided to play on bagpipes at the age of twenty-five, after he got eye inflammation and lost his eyesight during the harvest in Senca (after six years his vision improved slightly). He learned to play from his father and older brother Michał and from bagpipers from nearby villages – Svitáč, Grác, Vlasák and Stranák. After five years of study, he performed during banquets, carnival parties and weddings, earning money to support himself and his family – his wife and daughters, he could always count on. Playing on Bagpipes was his only source of income. He built a small house in Veľké Zálužie for the money he had saved.

He traveled a lot after the war. He has performed many times in Strážnice, Strakonice, Východná, Prešov, Martin, Tekov, Detva, Topoľčany and Nitra. He received many awards for his playing on bagpipes.

Jozef Antalík was the last professional bagpiper in Slovakia. He was characterized by: incredible creativity, unique sense of rhythm and technical virtuosity.