BIAŁOWIEŻA: PODLASIAN MUSIC

COLLABORATIONS & ENCOUNTERS:

RESIDENCY AT KULTURA KRESU & MEETING Śpiewaczki z Dobrowody IN PODLASIE // 30.05-5.06.2023

trees women soldiers

Stepping carefully on the dark busy soil it takes not even a second till you start to sink, deeply intertwined with the trees and politics.

In the ancient forest dead trees remain tall even for decades, while policing absence and practicing invisibility plays out on the human side.

Our imagination is too limited to grasp all different ways to connect, yet we try to listen and resonate, embracing complexity entangled in a single song, feeling the weight of a single tear.

Yes, we have heard the desire. And despair to survive.

video by Kasia Hertz / Kultura Kresu

KOROWÓD (MUSICAL PROCESSION) IN KOJŁY

PROCESSIONAL SONG FROM DYSZE

(learned through Witold Zalewski)

letiw sokolik czeres try bory /2

czeres try bory czeres czytyry /2

a w piatom lisy siw na łorisy /2

siw na łorisy z lisom goworyt /2

oj lisu lisu! jaki wysoki /2

czeres tebe leczu ne pereleczu /2

VISITING SINGERS FROM DOBROWODA

Światy Jure Ryhore
pójdy do Boha po kluczy /2
I odomkny zymlyciu /2
I wypust’, wypust’ trawyciu /2
Prykryj zymlyciu trawoju /2
A derewo listoczkom /2
Nas mołodeńkych wynoczkom /2
Jak nastane misiac maj /2
Pożynem woły pasty w haj /2
Tam ziljeczka narwemo /2
Sobi wynoczki zowjemo /2
I na hołowku złożymo /2
I do tanoczka pójdemo /2

Herbarium of Dobrowoda – podcast about folk medicine, songs & customs by Puszczańska Szkoła Tradycji

BIAŁOWIEŻA ANCIENT FOREST

The forest has its pulse. It is determined by oak trees, which from time to time produce more acorns at once and this affects all other organisms and the entire ecosystem. This used to happen every 10 years, but now the pulse is accelerating, it’s almost twice as fast.

Spruce trees are dying en masse due to climate change. Their roots are mostly down shallow and wide because they sap the melting snows. And there is less and less snow, the winter period is getting shorter and shorter. Spruces with less access to water have less resin and a weaker defense against bark beetles. The longevity of the trees means that they can’t adopt at a sufficient rate to current climate change – by the time they grow up at least several decades have passed so the knowledge with which they started is already outdated.

It’s frightening that in all of Europe there are only a few strictly designated places where trees can live to old age and fulfill their social role after death. Human management of the forest is destroying its ancient long-lived culture, weakening its resilience and survival strategies.

Forest culture is based on an awareness of cooperation and co-constitution between plants, the practice of seeking niches more than competition and antagonizing.

Woodpeckers put pinecones in the bark of trees – they build themselves dining rooms.

In Białowieża Forest, there is a remarkable diversity of fungi and insects, a lot of things “not yet” explored. And we are left with the hopeful thought that some things cannot be studied, no scientific research can be done on them, because human imagination is too limited. The hope that the sense of sentient Wilderness is still with us.

Being in the forest, our senses teach us different scales, intensities, temporalities and densities. The heights of the trees, the greenness of the glow, the density of the silence, the intensity of the pulsating communication, the depth.

The forest follows us as we fall asleep, followed by swarms of mosquitoes.

Some animals as they die go out to visible places. We saw three dead shrews in the middle of the path. Shrews are the only poisonous mammals, no one will eat them unless forced by hunger.

There are crosses in the forest commemorating the World War II murders. SS troops hunting people hiding in the forest. The monuments didn’t help – people forgot.

We saw a tag with Arabic writing under the gate of the reserve.

Meanwhile Polish soldiers enter the strict reserve for jogging, burning bonfires. They embody other worlds.

BIAŁOWIEŻA CHOREOGRAPHIES

HUMAN ABSENCES / RESTRICTING MOBILITIES

  • protection of the wildlife in the reserve
  • frontex policy

InVISIBILITIES / vanishing

  • bans on photographing the military and guards
  • hiding from the guards
  • tuning into the forest and wildlife

Means of connectivity / COMMUNICATING & RELATING

  • chemicals, waves & electrical impulses
  • finding niches
  • following shared pulse
  • metabolism
  • scream
  • whisper

ACROSS THE WALL

There is a humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border since 2021. Following Grupa Granica you can get the latest updates and support activists.

singing across the wall

OUR PRACTICES

#7

SINGING TO THE ABSENT BODY