Sunday, October 14, 2012

Polish Song and Dance Ensemble Śląsk vol. 3

   In first decades after war there was a lot of pressure toward subordinating popular music to the national Polish traditions. This was of course a political gesture against American and West European popular culture and to support national pride. In first decades after war the basis for popular music became folk melodies and rhythms so in traditional songs as well in early rock and roll. Most popular form of such groups were ensembles creating the stream of stylised folklore, what means the style of popular music based on elements of national folklore.  There were hundreds of such ensembles in schools and other institutions, supported and maintained by ministry of culture and propaganda officials. Most of these groups were just amateur undertakes and very few achieved valuable artistic results. One of such phenomena was The Polish Song and Dance Ensemble “Śląsk”.
   After great success of first two albums, published in 1964, next two sets of songs recorded by Śląsk Ensemble were published two years later in 1966 on two albums. One was Christmas Carols (XL 0347) and one numbered as consecutive volume three (XL 0348). This became permanent procedure. Radio and phonographic recordings were made in regular manner as a way of ensemble’s working routine.  Most sufficient way to promote the band and singers was to play these recordings in radio programs. With dozens of Śląsk recordings in archives, the process of setting next albums could be as easy as it only can be. The only problem was the choice of songs and the title of the album. And the level of difficulty was even higher because redactors of albums were trying to contain everything interesting thus syncretic character of numbered volumes.

Śląsk – The Polish Song and Dance Ensemble – vol. 3 (1966)

   In sixties the popularity of Śląsk Ensemble was reaching the highest possible level. Thank to the highest budget it was one of two most active folk song and dance ensembles of the country. Both were active in the field of folklore and both took part in creating great scale pageants. Arrangements made by Stanisław Hadyna were perfect and valuable examples of folkloristic stylization in popular song. Not only music was changed to meet standards of popular music. Also words were partly edited to meet the requirements of popular agenda.
   Because of folk music was not the best medium for socialist propaganda issues, the aim of some influences was leading to universal values. Best example is opening this record song Pije Kuba do Jakuba (Kuba Drinks to Jacob). It was based on popular folk banquet song. In version recorded by Śląsk this popular song was modified to convince to moderate drinking, but also to omit some nationalistic fragments. The satiric criticism against alcohol abuse and the idea of modesty in drinking were the part of the song W poniedziałek rano (On Monday Morning). This folk criticism is somehow close to the one of Carl Orff’s Carmina burana famous In taberna quando sumus. Interesting elements were also elements of folklore of urban areas present in many songs. Most peculiar one is Walczyk górniczy (The Miner’s Waltz) with frequent transitions between minor and major modes. Last part of the album are the songs of the highlanders – Hej te nasze góry (Our Mountains), Gronie, nasze gronie (Our Mountain Peaks) or Idzie baca groniem (A Shepherd Walks along the Ridge). The folk songs of mountain regions were second after Silesia songs in the repertoire of the group. These songs correspond with cover photo capturing dance of the mountaineer program.

No comments:

Post a Comment