Music Lost/Found  

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Poland, 1980, and Communism is facing collapse. Petrol is being rationed, the shops are empty. I begin my journey through the countryside to record music. Itís strange, because there are a great many folk bands, but their services are no longer required in the villages or towns. Musicians stop playing and sell off their instruments; slowly but surely they are forgotten. The first difficulty we faced was finding them replacement instruments. I met musicians who hadnít seen each other in years, having once played weddings together regularly; this was the last generation of village musicians. Then came the dawn of the pop era.


We filmed and made unique music recordings in the musiciansí homes, which were natural, stress-free environments. We searched throughout Poland, Ukraine and Belarus and found 1500 musicians, as well as singers, and from this number we reconstructed eighty bands. Our archive contains recordings of some of the oldest village bands, as well as contemporary wedding music. We have thousands of field photographs. However, the real jewels in our collection are undoubtedly the photographs taken by the original village photographers, who faithfully captured weddings, parties, funerals and daily life.  (Andrzej Bieńkowski)








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