musician – violinist


Józef Radej was born in Zawałcz near Turobin (Biłgoraj district), where he lived for most of his life. First and foremost he was a violinist but he also played on the trombone. He studied under Józef Kosz and became a member of the Turobin Orchestra that was led by Kosz. He also had his own band, and as a trombone player he performed with Edward Dziedzic’s band. Amongst his many students, some of the most recognized were Franciszek Mazur, Feliks Podkościelny, Józef Daniło (who performed alongside his master) and Bronisław Biga from Gródek whom he was related to.

He was the son of Wojciech Radej and Marianna from Korszlów. He married Paulina Sosnówka from Zdziłowice in 1926.

His sons were musicians as well: Wiktor (1928-1980) – a cornetist, who moved to Drawsko Pomorskie after the war, Albin, who lived in Potok Wielki and played the violin and clarinet and Czesław, an accordionist, who lived in Zawałcz. During the interwar period his band still performed in a traditional violin composition – violin “prym”(first) and “sekund”(second), bass and drums.


Józef Radej with his family and students, around 1930/ In Crudo archive


In the 1930’s he lived for a while in Volhynia, where he was very respected. During the Volhynia massacres, the Ukrainian people warned him just in time, thanks to which he managed to flee safely and return home to Zawiłcz. After the war, he played not only close to home but also in Pomerania, where he visited his son Wiktor. Most often in a band, expanded by wind instruments (the trombone, clarinet, trumpet) and the “harmonia” (a folk accordion) or the accordion. In the 1970’s he was still a violinst, although only invited to play at “Poprawiny” (the second day of the wedding), at which he would tell stories about wedding traditions, illustrating them with ceremonial melodies of both songs and dances, accompanied by elements of human sounds associated with weddings, using his violin in a very unusual way during his performance



2013 - Lubelskie. Polska pieśń i muzyka Ludowa. Źródła i materiały. cz. VI. Muzyka instrumentalna, red. Agata Kusto, CD dołączone do tomu: Marsz weselny

2011 - Early post-war – polishfolkmusicrecordings, IS PAN 2009 (Polka starodawna)




2013 - Lubelskie. Polska pieśń i muzyka ludowa. Źródła i materiały. cz. VI. Muzyka instrumentalna, red. Agata Kusto: zapisy nutowe; nota biograficzna, s. 96.

2011 - Józef Radej - biography, (Lexicone)

1979 - Jerzy Bartmiński, Wyobraźnia dźwiękowa wesela – w przekazie słowno-muzycznym Józefa Radeja, "Literatura Ludowa" nr 1/3, s. 6-8.




Zbiory Fonograficzne Instytut Sztuki PAN (1950), archiwum UMCS w Lublinie i Radia Lublin


Author of the note: Remek Mazur-Hanaj

Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska


Józef Radej with a trombone and his son, Wiktor with a cornet, playing in a blind accoridion player’s band, second half of the 1950s’/ In Crudo archive


He was an outstanding fiddler from Roztocze, but he played also in Volyhnia that is Western Pomerania; Józef Radej in 1922, photo arch. In Crudo