The Music of Poland, Part 2

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The Music of Poland, Part 2

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » April 1st 2020, 11:18am

This time, if you're not into the oldies along the lines of songs by Cole Porter or Vera Lynn, you might actually not want to give it a listen. But if you want to, here's a selection of Polish songs of the 1930s and 1940s, and one or two tunes in the style of that period.

First up, Eugeniusz Bodo - real name Bohdan Eugene Junod, of half-Polish and half-Swiss origin. He was the closest thing Poland had to James Cagney. Most of his singing performances were either on the radio or in Polish films of the period. While a lot of our artists survived the war, Bodo didn't make it. As a "degenerate artiste," he was detained by the Soviets, and died in a gulag near Archangelsk, Russia.

Next, Hanna "Hanka" Ordonówna - the Polish equivalent of Vera Lynn or Marlene Dietrich. Only she never quite got the international recognition that Lynn and Dietrich had.

Now, the icon of the Polish radio, records, and the pre-war music stage in Poland - Mieczysław Fogg. He gained popularity in the 1930s...and so it stayed well until the late 1960s. And from his repertoire, first up, the most popular Polish song of the 1930s.

As you may have noticed, the most popular rhythm for Polish music of the period was...the anything-but-Polish tango. Another vocalist who performed in that style was Janusz Popławski, a somewhat overlooked tenor.
A bit of trivia: there's at least one song by him that every Pole has heard at least once...thanks to it being featured in an episode of our classic war/spy TV series "Stakes Greater than Life", in a scene where the protagonist - Agent J-23, Major Stanisław Kolicki aka Oberleutnant Hans Kloss of the Abwehr, tries to drop some sleeping pills into the drink of the daughter of a German rocket scientist, in order to nick the German missile plans. Kloss is an absolutely cult TV character for us...and something of a WIS. In the series, he was seen wearing a two-tone Tissot Antimagnetique, a black dial Jaeger-LeCoultre, and a sector dial Omega Filenios.

Last position on the list - a tune in 1930s style...from 1981. It's the main theme for one of Poland's favourite crime comedies - Va Banque (Vabank), set in Lviv (Lwów) in the 1930s. The jazz/ragtime tune certainly wouldn't be out of place in a pre-war night joint in Warsaw.

In the next instalment - 1960s to now.
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