Jazz, respect and memory

What’s a Polish song doing on a blog about singing in English? Blaszane Mordy is here to show that connecting with a song is a conscious skill, and an ability, that transcends language. You don’t need to understand Polish to ‘understand’ Lautari‘s Blaszane Mordy. Emotion pulses within the shape of the words alone:

Choosing and framing a scrap of human language inside the right kind of music revives forgotten words. The marvellous musicians of Lautari: Jacek Hałas on accordion, Michał Żak on clarinet, violinist Maciej Filipczuk on piano and, I think, Wojciech Pulcyn on double bass.

Fragments of Polish voices, recorded in 1959. A man and a woman. He sings:

Why aren’t you singing, bridesmaids? Are your mouths made of wood? Are they wooden, are they metal, or are they shut with padlocks?

She replies:

Our mouths won’t just sing for anyone. But they are made of paper and are ready for singing.

Lautari have stitched old words into new sound, making the timeless modern. The song is Blaszane Mordy 4’44”, from their album “Vol 67” on iTunes here. “Vol 67” is a reference to Oskar Kolberg‘s collection of Polish folk traditions: The Folk: its Customs, Life, Speech, Tales, Proverbs, Rituals, Superstitions, Games, Songs, Music and Dance:

If you get a chance to hear Lautari live, grab it with both hands. They travel all over the world. Their Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/lautaripoznan

© Sing Better English, 2016


3 thoughts on “Jazz, respect and memory”

  1. There’s something about a loop such as Lautari grabbed to play over. It is strangely compelling, and I can see why musicians would want to play around with the concept. At the urging of a friend, I purchased Gavin Bryars’ CD with the recording of “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.” The back story is compelling as heck, as the liner notes detail (they can be read in the comments at the YouTube posting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1lnSi7QWY8. The recording I purchased and am now listening to can be heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quJjqZprGu0. Bryars scores an ensemble with the loop, and Tom Waits fades in with a gorgeous duet with the voice in the loop. As with Lautari, I find it fascinating listening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, keebslac1234. I hadn’t heard the Gavin Bryars piece, but I remember queueing up to buy cheap tickets early in the morning outside the National Theatre, back in the 70s, and seeing those elderly men sleeping in collections of cardboard boxes under the shelter of the building and in the tunnel connecting it to Waterloo Station. Now it’s all gentrified. There’s a whole life of difficulty and hope concentrated in that fragment of “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet”, isn’t there?

      There’s a 2 part BBC radio documentary you might enjoy – the episode that talks about Gavin Bryars, John Tavener, Talvin Singh and others http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05xxhw6 and one that begins at the beginning of minimalism: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05xdcb7

      All best wishes


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