The Idea 2016 – Borderlands

„Mazurkas of the World” Festival is a week-long celebration of traditional music right in the heart of Warsaw, and a proven formula for restoring the ancient language of Polish music in modern culture. It is a reunion of Masters and Pupils, musicians and dancers, people of all ages, sensitivities and political preferences, gathered around an idea of participation in the community of rhythms, melodies and dance steps. It is a musical borderland of the city and the country, the past and the future, locality and universality.

This year I would like to focus our attention on difficult topics which have been feeding our national complexes, keeping our old wounds open and causing various ambiguous processes in the world around us.

The relationship between the village and the mansion, deeply marked by serfdom, seemingly belongs to distant past – yet we can still hear its echo in the 21st century. Why do people in certain regions still boast about their “peasant pride”, while others are ashamed of being seen as “countryfolk”? How close to, or how far from the landowner’s mansion and the parish is village music? How do the relations between the village and “the master, the bailiff and the priest” translate into modern Poles’ viewpoints on folk traditions, themselves and others in this context? We will consider these questions during the conference entitled “Serfdom. Transforming cultural identity of the Polish village”, opening the Festival.

Centuries of neighborhood and mutual influences among Polish and Ukrainian people in the Volynia region ended with a sudden tragedy which still remains an open wound. However, we will go back in time before World War II to “visit” a Polish-Ukrainian wedding. There used to be many such ceremonies, since love knows no barriers. Concert “Volynia wedding. A world that is no more” is a result of meticulous research and reconstruction carried out by many Poles and Ukrainians. Let’s hope that wedding songs and dances from both countries will support the restoration of our relations and prepare us to tackle problematic issues.

The idea of Village Dance Clubs originated a few years ago, when “city kids” started playing folk music in the country, for and with those living there. Thanks to the energy of the young people and active involvement of village residents, traditional music has regained its integrity and fundamental social role. Village Dance Clubs are new, modern borderlands of the city and the country. We invited Masters and Pupils from the regions of Radom, Łódź and Kielce to take part in the concert and bring in their musical energy to us. Let’s make a City Dance Club!

Last records of Polish-Swedish relations date back to the 17th and 18th century, when a series of destructive wars took place (from The Deluge to The Great Northern War) and The Republic of Poland has never risen to its former glory. After 300 years, it turns out that the most popular Swedish dance is called “polska” and the musical trace leads to the territories of old Republic, sources of Polish style. Concert “Chodzony – polonez – polska”, entitled after three popular folk dances, will be an occasion to enjoy beautiful Polish and Swedish music, and to track its evolution from the earliest historical sources to living traditions and modern compositions based on “polska” dance.

As usual, we invite everyone to take part in various workshops (song, dance, instruments), everyday from Tuesday to Friday. We also hope that during this Festival the Old Tradition concert discovers new talents, the Festival Club and Dance Night satisfy even the most committed dancers, the Instrument Fair provides the right tools for all instrument makers, and finally that Little Mazurkas bring joy to both children and parents.

Actually, every moment is a sort of borderland. If we emphasize the “land” element, we are able to find common ground between the past, the present and the future, created in the fleeting land of imagination as the music is playing.

Great thanks to All supporting the idea of Mazurkas of the World.

We wish you many emotions, discoveries and encounters on the borderlands!

Janusz Prusinowski

Artistic Director




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