Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dwa Plus Jeden, a Polish Rock Group From the Seventies

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One of my Shabbos guests, Yankel is of Polish ancestry, having spoken only Polish until he was about five years old. He is very well versed in Polish music and film. Although he is a regular Shabbos guest, I have never had a chance to play any of the Polish music of which I am so fond, since I can not of course put on CD's on Shabbos or Yom Tov

Back in 1976, I was in East Berlin. I became familiar during that visit with "The Puhdys" of East Germany and "Dwa Plus Jeden", who were very popular in Poland and to some extent in Eastern Europe.

Though there is much to dislike about communist rule, not all of the music was bad. The government actually tried to promote local music to compete with Western pop music. Some was actually quite good. "The Puhdys in fact count the members of "Rammstein" amond their fans. Poland was credited with some very good jazz music.

I do not speak any Polish, but there is a certain soft sound to the language that differs markedly from other Slavic languages. Looking at the different languages in Eastern Europe is a bit like looking at a family portrait. The similarity of words in different regional languages such as the numbers and words for yes and no is unlike English which is sort of like an island standing alone.

I have because of my ancestry and experiences maintained a curiousity about Eastern Europe and Slavic cultures in general. This is of course tempered with a pained ambivalence in surveying Jewish history in many countries that hold a fascination for me. It has not translated itself into any deep familiarity with any particular country. In a sense it is sort of like having "a foot outside every door."

I promised that I would put some "Dwa Plus Jeden" on my web site. There is a lot of material I could put up about Poland that fascinates me , such as non Polish minorities and Polish films, but this will have to do for now. So Yankel can listen to Polish rock music in his apartment, as can all my other listeners


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The title of the first song has to do with filling the world with light. I don't know any more than that. How many Polish people don't speak English but like American music? I'm just returning the courtesy.

The second song I don't understand at all. I do like the mood of the photography in the accompanying video

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