Polish Spirit Various Artists (CD)
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.
Released by Jaro Medien, 2005, Format: CD only
10,00 EUR

Track 1 

Track 2 

Track 3 
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