Sunday, September 24, 2017


Poland has had a long musical history with its origins starting around the 13th century. In the early centuries, much of their music was either tied to the church and religious music or it was created as court music.



During the Baroque period of the 16th and 17th centuries, many of the up-and-coming Polish composers studied from the Italian composers who were often considered more of an “expert.” These Italian composers also introduced opera to Poland as well, and a few composers tried to create Polish operas during the 17th and 18th centuries.



However, during this same time period, Poland began taking folk song and dance forms and working it into classical musical styles. It’s not uncommon for many composers during the late 1700s and 1800s to take on this approach as well (remember Jean Sibelius in Finland or Antonin Dvorak in Czechia?). By doing this, Polish composers gave us new musical forms such as the mazurka and the polonaise. Some of the more well-known composers from Poland include Fryderyk Chopin, Józef Elsner, Karol Szymanowski, Henryk Wieniawski, and others. 



Contrary to what I used to think, the polka is not considered one of the national dances of Poland (it's a Czech dance). Similar to certain styles of music, some dances that made it to “national dance” status include the Mazurka (of the Mazowsze region, in 3/4 time with accents on beats 2 or 3), Polonaise (for Polish nobility, in 3/4 time and partners don’t face each other), Krakowiak (of the Krakow region, in 2/4 time), Oberek (also of the Mazowsze region, in 3/4 timing and has twirls and lifts partners in the air), and the Kujawiak (of the Kujawy region, in 3/4 time, alternating between fast and slow). 



As far as modern music goes, there’s a very strong following in pop, rock, and heavy metal (and all of its subgenres), and it’s been especially so since the 1990s and the return to a more democratic society. There are quite a bit of different bands and groups in many different genres, but I only listened to a few that I pulled at random. First, I listened to a female pop musician called Doda. I actually liked her music, even if it was pop. There’s an edginess to it, like a cross between rock and pop. Another musician who is known in the same category is Margaret. She actually reminds me a little of Shakira at times.



I came across Marika, a singer who falls in the soul/funk/reggae category. She incorporates different styles into her music and sings in a number of languages: in the few songs I listened to, I heard Polish, Portuguese, and English.



The band Myslovitz is an alternative band that plays more of a chill style rock. To me, their music kind of reminded me of some of the stuff that alt-J puts out. I liked it. It sounds like it would be good to put on while you’re working or having dinner or chilling on a rainy day. I also listened to Happysad, which has a kind of quieter side in a similar sound. They also have some faster songs that have a bluesy, reggae, or even ska side to it too.



I listened to an album by Pablopavo i Ludziki. It has an interesting sound: the instrumental part seems more or less to range from jazz to rock, but sometimes it seems like they tried to put too many lyrics in a space that is too short for it.



There are actually a few hip-hop groups I came across. One of them I sampled is Kaliber 44. The music behind it seems to draw from acoustic instruments and some electronic music (using a lot of jazz) and looped. I liked their style. Now I typically don’t care for live albums, but I did listen to Pezet & Malolat’s live album. They have a kind of rap-rock thing going on. I’ve always liked this kind of sound; I bet they’re better if you’re actually there live with them. Abradab is another rap group that draws from a number of styles like jazz and rock. 



I took a listen to O.S.T.R.’s album Zycie Po Smierci. He uses almost an electronic/trance sound mixed in but it’s still chill. I just really liked the style. I have no idea what he’s saying, but it really doesn’t matter. I’ll run the lyrics through Google Translate later. I look forward to listening to more of this.



Dezerter is one punk band that I found that I liked. They have kind of a lo-fi classic sound to them. However, they’re not afraid to pull a little bit of heavy metal sound into their songs as well. Cool Kids Of Death is another punk band that falls into this category as well. Another punk band I liked was LD 50.



And now we come to black metal. I’m not sure there’s a European country that doesn’t have some kind of metal band. The couple I listened to from Poland are Vesania and Graveland. While both were similar in styles with dark riffs and screaming, there was just something about Graveyard’s instrumentals that sounded better. The vocals on both sound like a smoker’s cough. But that’s the only part I don’t like about metal. Everything else is great. I also listened to Acid Drinkers, just because of the name of the band. Their vocals did retain a little bit of a melodic quality.



Up next: the food

No comments:

Post a Comment