The unfortunate thing about Europe is Techno-Rock.
Now, I admit it’s been a few years since I’ve been to a night-club in Poland, but I have wondered why Techno-Rock has lasted so long when the American equivalent, Disco, faded so quickly on this side of the pond.
One of the reasons we go to Europe is to connect with history. But, of course, European cities are much like those in the New World… modern ! So, we visit the “old town”, and tour castles, and seek out folk dance groups to take us back in time. It is all there for the tourist. However, there is an area in Poland where the old music is as common as the contemporary.
In the bars and restaurants of the mountain regions of the south, you can still hear Góralski kapelas (Highlander bands) playing the old mountain tunes, singing in their loud, traditional “white voice”. (I guess that’s so they could be heard in the hills.)
Trebunie-Tutki is the most well known, but my favorite is Andrzej Obrochty-Bartuś. I had the chance to hear them perform when my Mother and I visited Zakopane. We had lunch in a karczma (tavern), and there was a great sounding Góralski band playing for the tourists. I immediately recognized them, and asked them to autograph a couple of their CD’s which I had purchased earlier that day. I am sure they were quite surprised that an American even knew who they were.
On the other hand, I never liked groups like Krywań, who jazz up Góralski music… that is, until I heard them perform at an International Highland Music Festival.
I am now a fan, and recently discovered another group, on MySpace, called Siklawa, who are a bit more traditional than Krywań.
In my efforts to buy one of Siklawa’s CD’s, however, I made the mistake of buying their “Dance Mix” album. I mean, it had the song titles I was looking for….
Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be Techno Rock !!! Yikes !! But, I have to admit, I actually, really, came to like it. I mean, I already liked the tunes, and now it was very “danceable” !!
Well, I guess I should not have been surprised. You see, I do like some Techno-Rock. Remember the Numa-Numa song, popularized here in the U.S. by that guy on YouTube?
I had heard that song in a club in Warsaw, and it just stuck with me. It is actually a song called “Dragostea Din Tei” by a Romanian group, Ozone. So, I bought the CD: Discozone and fell in love with several other songs as well.
But as far as folk music goes, here in the U.S. we have taken Polish folk songs and have really changed them… into Polkas ! Chicago Style, Eastern Style, Honkey Style Polkas. Yes, we love the songs, and now we can dance to them ! But for some reason, the people in Poland don’t like the American polkas. Go figure.
I try to explain that, not only do polkas remind us of the folk tunes, but it helps keep alive the Polish language for 2nd and 3rd generation Polish-Americans.
Meanwhile, you have a group like Trebunie-Tutki joining with the Jamaican Twinkle Brothers to do a kind of Reggae-Góralski …. and it’s great fun !!
The Moral of the Story is that while the old music is often the best, it doesn’t hurt to give it new life with a new style… even if it is a Dance Mix !
“Dance mix is a form of music, created by mixing Techno House and Electronica. It reached its peak of popularity in the mid to late 1990s. However, it can also imply manipulating alternative rock and adult contemporary songs that are otherwise not dance songs so that “pop songs” can be more danceable. This technique has been implemented on dance party albums.