The Ballad and Orchestra of St. Nicholas

Ballada o Św. Mikołaju is beautiful song about the sad fate of the Lemkos (a Carpathian ethnic sub-group), who were forcibly resettled from their ancestral homeland in 1944-46 to the Soviet Union, and in 1947 under Operation Vistula to western and northern Poland. Remnants of their homes, churches, and cemeteries still remain in […]

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Reawakening Polish Prewar Urban Music

Late last year I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the atmosphere of Lviv’s interwar music scene at a live performance of a young band from Warsaw, which plays famous tunes from Poland’s 1920-1930s musical heritage. Warszawska Orkiestra Sentymentalna (Warsaw Sentimental Orchestra) comprises a group of young musicians united […]

Sangre de Muerdago: Interpreting Melodies Once Lost and Found Again

Two regions in the world are named Galicia—the one in east-central Europe that I have dedicated my blog to, and one in Spain’s northwest. Like the eastern Galicia, the one on the Iberian peninsula has a special musical, cultural, and linguistic heritage. Based out of this region is the group […]

Old Hat Shop Signs in Lviv

I came across a lovely prewar photograph of the outside of a hat shop in Lviv. The hand-painted sign reads in Polish “Pracownia czapek – wykonuje po najtańszych cenach,” which means “Hats workshop – produced at the cheapest prices.” In addition to Polish, it includes a Yiddish translation as well […]

Searching for Traces of the Lipińskis in Oleskiy Region

My great (x5) grandparents Feliks and Tekla Lipiński moved to the village of Koltiv (Kołtów) from Lviv in 1811. Feliks was invited by Count Józef Baworowski to his estate in the countryside to conduct his court orchestra. The former landlords, the Starzeńskis, built a beautiful garden house on a high hill […]

DakhaBrakha: Ethno-Chaos Band

DakhaBrakha is an “ethno-chaos” band from Kyiv, created in 2014. They have gained a following around the world, have toured extensively, and have even performed an NPR Tiny Desk Concert and as well as on KEXP. “Having experimented with Ukrainian folk music, the band has added rhythms of the surrounding […]

Burdon Folk Band

Burdon, formed in 2002 in Lviv, is a great example of a band that preserves and promotes folk music, allowing a new generation of people to enjoy and cherish the music of their ancestors. “We’re using acoustic folk instruments for the best reproduction of atmosphere of old dances which didn’t […]

Warsaw Village Band: Preserving the Folk Music Culture of Poland

“Presenting six young people who have created their own version of Polish folk punk! This band has found a welcome in the homes of elderly village musicians who see their traditions disappearing before the onslaught of urban life. They have taken these youngsters under their wing and have taught them […]

Karol Lipiński: Violinist and Conductor in Lviv’s First Theater

Lviv has always felt like my native town; however, in recent times none of my ancestors were from here. But in the last few years I discovered that my direct ancestors on two sides of my family (Polish and Austrian) did live in Lviv, but over 200 years ago, in […]

Maramaros: ‘The Lost Jewish Music of Transylvania’

“If the real Jewish music of Transylvania is gone, this disc makes sure it will not be forgotten.” – See more here.

Boyko Music: ‘At the Foot of the Carpathian Chain’

My paternal grandfather was born in the village of Lybokhora (Turka District), the “capital” of Boyko instrumental music. His parents, who were from the Sambir and Lviv regions, moved to this Carpathian village in the early 1900s to direct and teach at the local school. This is a picture from […]