Archive for 'Culture'

Music and musical instruments in Poland

Posted on 18. Jul, 2015 by in Culture, music, Vocabulary

Poland is home to a lively and varied musical tradition. Since the early middle ages, when around the 13th century the region’s earliest composers were experimenting with European composition styles and creating innovative works, Poland has nurtured its musical talent. Consequently, there are a whole range of eclectic musical styles that have thrived in Poland over the centuries, from the rhythmic fusion of Eastern European folk, to the flowing and timeless compositions of high Romanticism.

Most musical historians trace the roots of Poland’s successes to the 13th century, when composers began to experiment with polyphonic chant in much the same way that the musicians of the Franco-Prussian school in Germany and the West were doing. But it’s not until the 15th century that the first towering figure of Polish classical music emerges. Mikołaj Radomski, probably lived and worked in Kraków, but is really only known by the signature that identifies his works, which were excessively religious in theme.

At the court of Zygmunt III Vasa, who reigned as Poland’s king from 1566 to 1632, many musicians from Western Europe flocked to take advantage of increased patronage of the arts. The result was a sudden influx of baroque classical styles that came to be the trademark of the native Polish composers well into the next century (Adam Jarzębski and Bartłomiej Pękiel are particularly notable in this period).

The 19th century could fairly be considered as Poland’s golden age of musical success. After a period of artistic floundering, which saw musician after musician try to reinvigorate the previous successes of Poland’s opera boom, which had made Warsaw a centre of musical focus in the first half of the 16th century, Poland underwent a musical renaissance. In fact, the successes of the era are often put down to the development of what are now considered the central Polish folk and classical traditions. The polonez, for example, became popular in the early 19th century, but actually originated in the late 16th, permeated through Europe very prolifically, and a number of really recognisable composers tried their hand at the form (these include Beethoven and Bach).

However, it is widely recognised that the master of composition in the polonez form, was one of Poland’s own: Fryderyk Chopin. Today, he is regarded as one of the central figures in the rise and success of European Romantic music, and in Poland he is still a proud reminder of the nation’s historical musical prowess. The most famous of his polonez compositions is perhaps ‘The Military Polonaise’, which evokes the overarching nationalistic theme of Polish knighthood and victory over foreign invaders.

Poland also boasts a strong folk music heritage, and while this genre was heavily suppressed during the years of communist rule, it has undergone something of a modern resurgence, still enjoying popularity in many rural parts of the country today. In Zakopane in the south, for example, the central street, Ulica Krupówki, is lined with live music bars playing the region’s own Podhale folk style into the early hours.

In the late half of the 20th century, and particularly after the fall of communism, Poland has embraced a really wide range of musical styles. Most notably perhaps is the nation’s successes in the genre of Heavy Metal. Bands like Turbo, have been hailed as Poland’s answer to metal giants Iron Maiden, while hard rock festivals in the country continue to be extremely well attended.

Polish pop music is also alive and kicking, and you’d be hard pushed to find a Karaoke bar that doesn’t play at least one Polish hit in a night! What’s more, you only need to wander into any of the live jazz bars on offer in Poland’s major cities to realise how popular and successful the style has become among young musicians.

Like all things of culture in Poland, the country’s musical tradition is very much alive. Not only can the country lay claim to some of the great names in the European classical tradition, but there’s a certain atmosphere of enjoyment that prevails in the live music bars and open mic nights of the country, which makes Poland simply a great place to be playing music.


Image by Incredible Things on

Here are names of some instruments in Polish:

accordion – akordeon
bagpipes – dudy
banjo – banjo
bassoon – fagot
brass instruments –  instrumenty dęte blaszane
castanets – kastaniety
cellist – wilonczelista
cello – wiolonczela
clarinet – klarnet
cymbals – cymbałki
double bass – kontrabas
drummer – perkusista
drums – perkusja
drumstick – pałeczka /do gry na bębnie/
flute – flet
gong – gong
guitar – gitara
guitarist – gitarzysta
harp – harfa
horn – róg
instrument – instrument
instrumental – instrumentalny
lute – lutnia
lyre – lira
mandolin – mandolina
mouth organ – harmonijka ustna
organ – organy
pianist – pianista
piano – fortepian/ pianino
play the piano – grać na pianinie
saxophone – saksofon
saxophonist – saksofonista
string – struna
tambourine – tamburyn
triangle – trójkąt
trombone – puzon
trumpet – trąbka
trumpeter – trębacz
violin – skrzypce
violinist – skrzypek
wind instruments – instrumenty dęte
zither – cytra

Do you know most of the prayers in Polish?

Posted on 10. Jun, 2015 by in Culture, Religion

As a mother of two bilingual girls, I try to teach them everything in Polish. That includes prayers!

Todays blog will help you, if you want to do the same thing with your kids, if you decide to attend a mass at a Polish church…or you simply just want to know how to say preyers in Polish.


Znak Krzyża świętego

W imię Ojca i Syna, i Ducha Świętego. Amen.

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Ojcze Nasz

Ojcze nasz, któryś jest w niebie, święć się Imię Twoje. Przyjdź królestwo Twoje. Bądź wola Twoja, jako w niebie tak i na ziemi. Chleba naszego powszedniego daj nam dzisiaj. I odpuść nam nasze winy, jako i my odpuszczamy naszym winowajcom. I nie wódź nas na pokuszenie, ale nas zbaw ode złego. Amen.  

Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Zdrowaś Maryjo

Zdrowaś Maryjo, łaski pełna, Pan z Tobą, błogosławionaś Ty między niewiastami, i błogosławiony owoc żywota Twojego, Jezus. Święta Maryjo, Matko Boża, módl się za nami grzesznymi teraz i w godzinę śmierci naszej. Amen. 

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death. Amen.

Chwała Ojcu…

Chwała Ojcu i Synowi i Duchowi Świętemu.  Jak była na początku, teraz i zawsze, i na wieki wieków. Amen.

The Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Skład Apostolski

Wierzę w Boga, Ojca wszechmogącego, Stworzyciela nieba i ziemi. I w Jezusa Chrystusa, Syna Jego jedynego, Pana naszego. Który się począł z Ducha Świętego; narodził z Maryi Panny. Umęczon pod ponckim Piłatem, ukrzyżowan, umarł i pogrzebion. Zstąpił do piekeł, trzeciego dnia zmartwychwstał. Wstąpił na niebiosa, siedzi po prawicy Boga Ojca wszechmogącego. Stamtąd przyjdzie sądzić żywych i umarłych. Wierzę w Ducha Świętego, Święty Kościół powszechny, świętych obcowanie, grzechów odpuszczenie, ciała zmartwychwstanie, żywot wieczny. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

O mój Jezu

O mój Jezu, przebacz nam nasze grzechy, zachowaj nas od ognia piekielnego, zaprowadź wszystkie dusze do nieba i dopomóż szczególnie tym, którzy najbardziej potrzebują Twojego miłosierdzia

O My Jesus

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins,  save us from the fires of Hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.

Koronka do Miłosierdzia Bożego

W imię Ojca …, Ojcze nasz…, Zdrowaś Maryjo…, Wierzę w Boga…

Ojcze Przedwieczny, ofiaruję Ci Ciało i Krew, Duszę i Bóstwo najmilszego Syna Twojego, a Pana naszego Jezusa Chrystusa, na przebłaganie za grzechy nasze i całego świata.

Dla Jego bolesnej męki miej miłosierdzie dla nas i całego świata.

Święty Boże, Święty Mocny, Święty Nieśmiertelny zmiłuj się nad nami i nad całym światem.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

In the name of the Father …, Our Father…, Hail Mary…, I believe in God…

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

New president of Poland

Posted on 30. May, 2015 by in Culture, Current News, Education, Government, History, Politics

Andrzej Duda, 43-year-old candidate of Poland’s leading right-wing party (prawicowa partia), stunned the nation’s political establishment on Sunday by wresting the presidency from the incumbent, Bronisław Komorowski, who is allied with the party that has governed during eight years of stability and prosperity.


Official results will not be released until Monday, at the earliest, but a combination of exit polls and early vote tallies showed that Mr. Duda had won a fairly decisive victory, with 52 percent of the votes, over Mr. Komorowski, with 48 percent.

Mr. Komorowski conceded defeat (przyznał się do porażki) before a glum gathering of his supporters saying, “It didn’t work out this time.” He congratulated Mr. Duda, saying, “I wish him a good presidency, because I wish Poland well.”

The position is a largely ceremonial one in Poland. Mr. Duda’s victory, though, raises the real prospect that Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska), the center-right party that has controlled the government since 2007, will be turned out in parliamentary elections this fall.

Polish voters, clearly eager for a change, rejected pleas from Mr. Komorowski that electing Mr. Duda would threaten Poland’s economic expansion and its close relationships with Germany and the European Union.

The election was being watched with great interest in Washington and across Europe because Poland, with the sixth-largest economy in the European Union, has been assuming a larger and more energetic role in continental affairs.

Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, was elected president of the European Council last year, for instance, with the eager backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Both parties support Poland’s membership in NATO and the European Union and take a hard line against the policies of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. But Mr. Duda’s party, Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość), is much more socially conservative and nationalistic and tends to be more skeptical about surrendering authority over Polish affairs to European partners.

Civic Platform has forged very close ties with Germany, and sought a larger role and more prominent voice in European Union affairs.

Let’s refresh the history of Polish presidency: List of the Presidents of Poland (officially President of the Republic of Poland – Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej) and other Polish heads of state since 1918 (people who held title other than President):

Second Republic (1918-1939)
Józef Piłsudski (Chief of State), 1918-1922
Gabriel Narutowicz, 1922
Maciej Rataj (acting), 1922
Stanisław Wojciechowski, 1922-1926
Maciej Rataj (acting), 1926
Ignacy Mościcki, 1926-1939
Government in exile (1939-1990)
Government in emigration was recognized internationally until 1945

Władysław Raczkiewicz, 1939-1947
August Zaleski, 1947-1972
Stanisław Ostrowski, 1972-1979
Edward Bernard Raczyński, 1979-1986
Kazimierz Sabbat, 1986-1989
Ryszard Kaczorowski, 1989-1990
Communist Poland (1944-1989)
Bolesław Bierut, 1944-1952
Aleksander Zawadzki (Council of State), 1953-1964
Edward Ochab (Council of State), 1964-1968
Marian Spychalski (Council of State), 1968-1970
Józef Cyrankiewicz (Council of State), 1970-1972
Henryk Jabłoński (Council of State), 1972-1985
Wojciech Jaruzelski (Council of State), 1985-1989
Third Republic (from 1989)
Wojciech Jaruzelski, 1989-1990
Lech Wąłęsa, 1990-1995
Aleksander Kwaśniewski, 1995-2005
Lech Kaczyński, 2005-10 April 2010
Bronisław Komorowski (acting), 10 April 2010-8 July 2010
Bogdan Borusewicz (acting), 8 July 2010
Grzegorz Schetyna (acting), 8 July 2010 – 6 August 2010
Bronisław Komorowski, 6 August 2010 –


Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)