• March 6, 2015
  • 243

New Polish wave. Vilnius region unknown to the world.

Young Poles from the Vilnius region want to sing. What is more, they want to present their own culture. Sing in their own language. They do not want to be minor. They reject the reduction of the Polish character to folklore. Ewa Wołkanowska-Kołodziej writes about their work and about the Vilnius region unknown to the world.

In the article “Young Vilnius sings in Polish” Ewa Wołkanowska-Kołodziej shows new side of Polish music in Lithuania. Young artists represent various styles that go beyond the schematic, stereotypical image of a Pole in Lithuania that is so common in Poland.

The revival of Polish culture in the Vilnius region during the time of the Soviet Union owed much to the Polish folklore. Music bands such as “Wilia” or “Wileńszczyzna” have been attracting crowds in Vilnius, Poland and other Polish communities. Occasionally, this deep identification with everything “Polish” lead to misunderstandings well known to the author of the article from her own experience. As a child she used to wear traditional Cracovian dress and sing “Ukochana moja ziemio, Wileńszczyzny drogi kraj, / Na nic Ciebie nie zamienię, z Tobą żyć i umrzeć daj” (transl. note: literally – “My beloved land, Vilnius region my dear country, I wouldn’t change you for anything, let me live with you and with you die”).

The author of the article notices the ongoing changes of the Vilnius region. Simultaneously, the musical preferences of young Poles change as well. New Polish bands play reggae, metal, ska or indie rock. The first compilation of the young Polish musicians from the Vilnius region – “Muzyczne Rodowody” – comprised of the works of the following bands: Will’N’Ska, StaraNowa, Black Biceps, Kite Art, Saint Oil Sand, Berserker, Rob B. Colton (Robert Błaszkiewicz), Filmik (Karol Pasnikowicz), Jańka z Wilna (Katarzyna Bitowt) and saxophonist Jan Maksimowicz. There was one basic criterion for the songs – they had to present the way young Polish artists from Lithuania perceive reality.

“Muzyczne Rodowody”. Young Polish musicians on one record.

In Februaruy, there was a promotion of the record “Muzyczne Rodowody” in the Polish parliament. The audience, in this case the politicians, were delighted by the work of young Poles who refused to “be minor”. The reception of the record was positive, but it is only the beginning of the road to success.

“Muzyczne Rodowody”. Lithuania” in the Polish parliament.

“We will be able to call it a success only if the bands that recorded “Muzyczne Rodowody” will still be singing in Polish” – underlined the author. “If the Polish audience will like the new Vilnius wave then it may become Vilnius export product. It will be a shock to many Poles who look at the Lithuanian Poles from the perspective of “Pan Tadeusz” (“Sir Thaddeus”)”.

One of the comments below the text was: “The truth is that nowadays Poles from Poland and Poles from Lithuania have practically nothing in common”. However, young Poles from Poland and Lithuania more and more often meet at universities, during vacations, or while emigrating. There is a hope that such meetings will not only show the differences but also the similarities between the Poles from Poland and Lithuania.

“Muzyczne Rodowody. Lithuania” is not for sale, but it is available for free on muzycznerodowody.pl.

Based on: wyborcza.pl

Translated by Damian Gabryś within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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