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Polish Fiddle Music

by Chris Haigh on July 25, 2008

in Culture

Polish Fiddle Music, in common with that of England, has had something of a difficult time, and a bad press to boot. Surrounded by its flashy and exotic neighbours in Russia, Hungary and the Balkans, the folk music of Poland, with its major keys, medium tempos, relative lack of ornamentation, and the taste of the "poisoned chalice" of the Bavarian Oompah , all leave Polish folk music looking rather tame. Is there more to Polsh fiddle music than meets the eye?

One young band determined to break the mold of this stuffy image is the Warsaw Village Band. They reach both forwards, incorporating elements of hip-hop and techno, and backwards, using various archaic Polish instruments including a unique Polish fiddle variant, the Suka, played in the band by Sylwia Swiatkowska.

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About The Author: Chris Haigh

Chris HaighChris Haigh is a London-based fiddle player who specialises in Klezmer, gypsy and East European styles. He plays with a trio, Klezmania, doing lots of Jewish weddings and Bar Mitzvahs; this band does a mixture of traditional Klezmer and Israeli tunes along with some jazz improvisation. Tziganarama is Chris's own trio, playing a wide range of Jewish, Russian, Balkan and gypsy music, whilst The Kremlinaires is Chris's wacky 7-piece Soviet Swing band. He first learned East European music whilst playing with Valodya Asriev at Zamoyski, a Polish restaurant in Hampstead. He has a large repertoire of Polish tunes.

Chris sometimes plays solo or as a duo with accordion, going "around the tables" at a dinner.

He gives workshops on klezmer fiddle style, (demonstrating techniques and ornamentation, describing the different tunes types and scales used in klezmer), and Polish fiddle (demonstrating the different types of traditional fiddle tune).

He writes original klezmer melodies; his tune "Klezmania" was used on a worldwide TV ad for Nike!

Visit Chris at his Fiddling Around The World website


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