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Polish Radio Folk Collection Volume 06 - Kurpie - Puszcza Zielona (The Green Forest)
Polish Radio Folk Collection Volume 06 - Kurpie - Puszcza Zielona (The Green Forest)

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For many years the folk music and dance of Mazovia have been arousing interest of both foreigners and Poles. Foreigners were attracted by the speciality of this folklore - already in 1752 the German author Johann Riepel used for the first time the term Masura to describe a Polish dance. This CD focuses in one subregion of Mazovia: the so-called Green Forest. Its inhabitants describe themselves as Woodlanders. Another popular (though incorrect) name of this population is 'Kurpie' (the Kurps)
The Green Forest stretches on the territory between the Narew River (between the towns of Ostrleka and Nowogrod) and the Omulawia and Pisa Rivers. The northern borderline of the region was the historical border between Poland and East Prussia. Due to the relatively late (16th/17th century) and multiethnic settlement from different directions, e.g. from East Prussia as well as the difficult economic situation, isolation and traditionalism of the region, the culture of the Green Forest is highly distinctive. The best example can be found in the local dialect, in which all-Polish piwo is pronounced as psiwo or pchiwo, kupic as kupsic. The Woodland dialect is very close to the dialect of the Masurian population from the former East Prussia.
The folk song of the region is in many aspects similar to that of Mazovia, both in literary forms, subjects, functions and textual threads. It contains popular wedding songs like Siadaj, nie gadaj (Sit down and don't talk), Juz za stoly zasiadaja (They sit down to tables) or others, like Pozic mamo raz (Tell me, mother), U jeziorecka, u bystrej wody (On the lake), Sluzyla dziewcyna (The girl went into service). However, the Woodlanders do not know such a widely known wedding song as Chmiel. They also have very few ballad motifs and some widely known rites are totally missing from their repertoire - e.g. harvest-home celebration, obviously connected with the feudal economy. Could it be a result of the liberties enjoyed by the inhabitants of the Royal Forest? The Woodlanders have developed their own unique classification of songs, of which one group is called przytrampywane (songs with foot-tapping?). They are performed with a special dance-like movement and often have meaningless refrains (ex. Mozilas, Marysiu - You said, Mary; Na stole sklanka - A glass on the table). Another group contains 'forest' (lesne) songs - slow and melismatic, formerly sang in the woods and presently, when much of the forest has been cut down, also in the fields. For a long time the folk music of the Woodlanders was not heard much. It was Oskar Kolberg who revealed this repertoire in the ethnographic series, but to fully recognize its value and originality, Polish culture had to wait for father Wladyslaw Skierkowski (1886-1941). While travelling to his parish on a cart, he heard a nostalgic 'forest' song which enchanted him. This fascination resulted in a collection of songs which he wrote down from hearing and published as Puszcza kurpiowska w piesni (The Kurpie Forest in song, Plock 1928-1934). After the 2nd World War an extensive documentation of the Green Forest's folklore, including recordings, was made thanks to activities of the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Polish Radio. English-Polish booklet enclosed with details about the region and the musicians.
  • Compact Disc
  • 35 selections
  • Total Time: 72:55
  • English-Polish language booklet enclosed

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