Polish Spirit


This series of initially four CDs provides us with new windows onto the music of our neighbours to the east. No mere rehashing of balalaika and other clichés, it tunes us into a wide range of temperaments and brings us closer to little-known musical cultures of the eastern world. Old melodies and new songs, all of them interpreted by outstanding musicians from the respective countries.   This CD invites you to travel with us to the heart of music from Poland.

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Polish Spirit – From Cowsheds to Klezmer

Young and Wild – Folklore from Poland

Oddly enough, in musical terms, Poland seems to have remained a virtually uncharted area from the end of World War II until about fifteen years ago. The reason was, of course, the so-called Iron Curtain. Now and then, however, an instance of musical innovation did succeed in escaping. Musicians from the world of jazz also made a name for themselves in the West, and some – Zbigniew Seifert, for instance, a violinist who died a tragic and untimely death – even contributed their own concept of jazz. Classical performers (especially pianists specialising in Chopin interpretations) as well as avant-garde electronic musicians were allowed to travel to the West, and in the progressive rock world, Niemen caused quite a stir beyond the borders of the Warsaw Pact.

The rich and fertile field of Polish folk music was left out of all this, remaining very much a closed book for a long time. Apart from a visit by the state ensemble Mazowsze, which was allowed to perform at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, the West was kept very much in the dark.

Mazowsze represented a state version of Polish folk music, however, in which colourful costumes, perfect choreography and spectacular acrobatics seemed far more important than musical originality.

In the meantime, all that has changed radically, and Polish folk musicians – especially the younger ones – can now be observed reviving the almost-forgotten traditional techniques. Many of these young musicians (including the Warsaw Village Band, to name just one example) have studied with and learned from the older ones. The revival of Klezmer music in the States in the 1970s was very similar. Klezmer is certainly appropriate in this context too, because this Jewish folklore style was very prevalent in Poland before the Holocaust. Indeed, one of the only film documents of Klezmer, the comedy “Der Jidl mit der Fiedel,” was filmed in Poland in 1936 (and only premiered in a restored version as late as 1980). Apart from Jewish folklore, Poland itself has a huge folk music repertoire, complete with its own special instruments and singing styles (such as the “white voice,” a special vocal technique close to screaming, formerly used by Polish shepherds). As is always the case with folk music, people learned from one another: Klezmer music included elements of Polish folk music and vice versa. The young generation documented on this CD actually goes a step further, combining the traditional with the present-day – and making it clear that reggae dubs and techno-loops are familiar elements of their New Folk, made in Poland.

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1. Kroke – Usual Happiness 5.42/ Tomasz Kukurba

2. Warsaw Village Band – Polka from Sierdz Region 2.17/ trad./arr.M. Kleszcz, S. Swiatowska, M.Sobczak,W. Krzak, M. Szajkowski, P. Glinski

3. Kapela Marian Pelka – Roots 0.36/ trad.

4. Maya Kleszcz – Lament 2.30/ trad. /arr. Maja Kleszcz

5. Motion Trio – Train to Heaven 4.23/ Janusz Wojtarowicz

6. Trebunie Tutki – Nasze Reggae /Our Reggae-tribute to Bob 3.32/ V.Ford arr. Krzysztof Trebunia /words Wlodzimierz Kleszcz.

7. Warsaw Village Band – To you Kasiunia 5.12./ trad./arr.M. Kleszcz, S. Swiatowska, K. Szurman,W. Krzak, M. Szajkowski, P. Glinski, M. Smiech

8. Kroke – The secrets of Life Tree 3.28 / Lato/Kukurba/Bawol

9. Trebunie Tutki – Kochanie Na Zatracenie/Loving to Loose 4.37/ (K. Trebunia/A. Gasienica-Czubernat)

10. Warsaw Village Band – Matthew 2.34/ trad./arr.M. Kleszcz, S. Swiatowska, M.Sobczak,W. Krzak, M. Szajkowski, P. Glinski

11. Anna – Trebunia Matce / For Mother 1.20/ (K. Trebunia/A. Gasienica-Czubernat)

12. Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa – Babas Ride 5.20/ trad./arr. S. Swiatowska, K. Szurman, M. Smiech, A. Jaikukbowska

Additional Info

Track 6,9,11 from the CD “W Sherwood” Trebunie – Tutki ,

www.trebunie.pl – Licensed by by Kamahuk records

Tracks 2 – 4,6, 10, from Warsaw Village Band CD Uprooting JARO Medien

Track No1 from Kroke CD Ten pieces, Licensed by Oriente Musik www.oriente.de

Track No 8 from Kroke CD Eden , Licensed by Oriente Musik www.oriente.de

Track No 5 from Motion Trio CD Pictures from the Street

Licensed by Asphalt Tango Records www.asphalt-tango.de

Track No 7 from Warsaw Village Band CD Peoples Spring, JARO Medien

Track No 12 from Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa CD Hopsasa, JARO Medien



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