This bonus CD is only available with the April (#116) edition of Songlines. Click here to purchase your copy.
The new Songlines (April, #116) issue is accompanied by a bonus CD featuring music from Silesia. Silesia? Yes, it’s the largely industrial border area of southwest Poland that also extends into the Czech Republic and Germany.
The musical capital is the city of Katowice, which has just been named a UNESCO City of Music. It’s long been famous for its Music Academy, as the city of the Polish Radio Symphony orchestra and as the home of composer Henryk Górecki (1933-2010), who became internationally popular with the chart success of his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs in the 1990s.
‘I was born in Silesia… It is old Polish land,’ he wrote. ‘But there were always three cultures present: Polish, Czech, and German. When you look at the history of Poland, it is precisely the multiculturalism, the presence of the so-called minorities that made Poland what it was.’
Folk music was for years hidden in the shade of classical and jazz music, but now Polish audiences are enjoying the rich harvest of the roots revival, which has been consistently reported in Songlines. Hence the covermount Silesian Roots CD.
Silesia stretches from Germany in the West to the Slovakian border in the East. It includes the Odra river lowlands and Beskid highlands, cultivated by Wallachian shepherds originally from Romania.
That’s where the name of the band Vołosi (track 1) comes from – and they feature both classical and folk musicians. The Mysłowice-Wesoła Orchestra (track 3) is the Silesian version of Austro-Hungarian military bands, a world-wide genre that spans from Balkan Gypsy bands to Mexico and the US Polka Belt. With Ŝanĝo (track 7), you can draw parallels with the Scandinavian tradition, as defined in 1991 by the Finno-Swedish band Hedningarna. Gooral (track 8) mix mountain music with electronica while the Kapela Byrtków (track 14) are one of Poland’s best regional bands from a tradition that spreads along the Carpathian mountains and has inspired artists as diverse as Béla Bartók, the Taraf de Haidouks and Muzsikás.
The ever changing landscape of Polish-Silesian music is appropriately reflected by Mirek Rzepa (track 15), a veteran guitarist who after three decades of playing in some of the most important bands released his first solo album – and amazed his audience by switching from guitar to piano.
Words by Petr Dorůžka, Czech Radio
1 Vołosi – ‘Tsavkisi’, Nomadism (2015)
2 Psio Crew – ‘Hajduk’ Szumi Jawor Soundsystem (2006)
3 Mysłowice-Wesoła Orchestra – ‘Marsz Śląska’ Orkiestra Dęta i Orkiestra Rozrywkowa (2013)
4 Lelek – ‘Hymn do Żywy’ Brzask Bogów (Dawn of Gods) (2016)
5 Indialucia – ‘Acatao’ Acatao (2014)
6 Blokowioska – ‘Kołysanka’ (Lullaby) Radio Katowice EP (2014)
7 Ŝanĝo – ‘Grandega Ŝanĝo’ The Change of the Earth Vibration (2014)
8 Gooral – ‘Pod Jaworem’ (Scapegoat) Better Place (2014)
9 Garbowski-Cruz Quartet – ‘Part I’ Rashomon Effect (2014)
10 Foliba – ‘Legenda’ feat Cheeba Tan (2015)
11 Adam Oleś – ‘Miałabych Jo Kawalera’ Hurdu_Hurdu (2012)
12 Paprika Korps – ‘Przede Wszystkim Muzyki’ Live at Tampere (2006)
13 Lautari – ‘Blaszane mordy’ Vol 67 (2015)
14 Kapela Byrtków – ‘Koń’ (live) Wszystkie Mazurki Świata (2015)
15 Mirek Rzepa – ‘Polna’ Rymszary (2011)