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Making Music in the Polish Tatras

Tourists, Ethnographers, and Mountain Musicians

Timothy J. Cooley

Publication Year: 2005

Challenging myths that mountain isolation and ancient folk customs defined the music culture of the Polish Tatras, Timothy J. Cooley shows that intensive contact with tourists and their more academic kin, ethnographers, since the late 19th century helped shape both the ethnic group known as Górale (highlanders) and the music that they perform. Making Music in the Polish Tatras reveals how the historically related practices of tourism and ethnography actually created the very objects of tourist and ethnographic interest in what has become the popular resort region of Zakopane. This lively book introduces readers to Górale musicians, their present-day lives and music making, and how they navigate a regional mountain-defined identity while participating in global music culture. Vivid descriptions of musical performances at weddings, funerals, and festivals and the collaboration of Górale fiddlers with the Jamaican reggae group Twinkle Brothers are framed by discussions of currently influential theories relating to identity and ethnicity and to anthropological and sociological studies of ritual, tourism, festivals, globalism, and globalization. The book includes a 46-track CD illustrating the rich variety of Górale music, including examples of its fusion with Jamaican reggae.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. ix

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xvii

This book is a work of ethnography. Like all ethnographies it is a collaborative project relying on the generous contributions of many individuals and effectively having numerous co-authors. These contributors include the many musicians, dancers, and community members in the towns and villages in or near the Polish Tatras ...

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Note on Citations of Fieldwork Media

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pp. xix

References such as ac19.vii.92.1 direct the reader toward fieldwork documentation. The numbering system indicates media (ac = audio cassette, v = Hi8 video, Dv = mini digital video, and VHS = VHS video cassette). ...

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pp. 1-17

Approaching the Tatra Mountain town of Zakopane from the southeast along a street named T. Chałubinskiego, one encounters a monument to the street’s namesake, Dr. Tytus Chałubinski (1820–1889) (fig. 0.1). The monument features a pedestal topped with a larger-than-life bust ...

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1 Podhale

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pp. 18-57

Only one major player in this book is not human-made and that is the place itself—the Tatra Mountains. And even this is dramatically altered by human activity. The other topics of interest here are all human-made; they are human inventions. The danger of ethnographic descriptions (including what follows) ...

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2 Making History

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pp. 58-82

One way or another people create the social realities and fictions that they inhabit. The popular notion that Poland is a relatively homogeneous nation-state results, at least in part, from ethnic genocides and expulsions during World War II, followed by a government policy and ideology of social integration ...

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3 Making Mountain Music: A History of Ethnography in Podhale

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pp. 83-122

Past musical folklorists, ethnographers, composers, and others who took an active interest in G

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4 Village on Stage

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pp. 123-161

Some words are invested with particular power. “Village” is one such word. On the one hand, a village is conceived of as a major accomplishment of civilization. One might reasonably expect to find all that is necessary for human life and socialization within a village. ...

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5 Global Village

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pp. 162-202

In 1992 a cassette recording called Twinkle Inna Polish Stylee: Higher Heights was released, first in England and Western Europe and then in Poland (fig. 5.1). The cassette contained the musical results of a fusion between a Rastafarian reggae band based in London and a family band of Górale musicians from the Tatra village of Biały Dunajec. ...

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6 Village for Hire

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pp. 203-216

The festival stage and the fusion CD are not the only ways to experience music in Podhale. A walk up Krupówki Street any day of the week reveals an astonishing cornucopia of available musics, and the possibilities only multiply as one explores Zakopane’s other streets. Classical music recital series are offered at a number of venues, ...

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7 Back to the Village

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pp. 217-245

One reason that I remember this brief encounter with Jan Gutt, the skilled dancer in the Go´rale tradition,is the way he directed my attention away from the nostalgic and toward the obvious with a simple reference to a zespół, a song and dance troupe. He reminded me that while weddings may bring one back to the village ...

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Epilogue: Village Exhumed

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pp. 246-250

The above is a song from Etno-Techno, one of the worldbeat fusion CDs considered in chapter 5. Like all the songs on that CD, Krzysztof Trebunia-Tutka’s poem is set to music that emphasizes a techno dance beat but incorporates musical gestures and timbres suggestive of muzyka Podhala, ...


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pp. 251-256


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pp. 257-262

References Cited

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pp. 263-274

List of Illustrations

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pp. 275-278

List of Audio Examples

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pp. 279-282


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pp. 283-293

E-ISBN-13: 9780253002549
E-ISBN-10: 0253002540
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253344892

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 34 b&w photos, 59 figures, 3 maps, 1 index
Publication Year: 2005