This week marks the third year my wife Paula and I will attend the WOMEX World Music Expo. This time our destination is Katowice in the Silesian region of southern Poland. We are set to enjoy five days of concerts by a host of 60 performers, specially selected by the WOMEX committee to represent music from around the world. The complete experience includes networking with musicians, record labels, agents, venues, and media outlets. The Expo also includes a world music film series.
Why come to Poland for just five days? In fact, we did manage to arrive prior to the Expo to spend some time in the historically and folk-tradition rich cities of Krakow and Zakopane. Krakow is more familiar to people, but I admit to not knowing much about it before we arrived. We learned plenty as we strolled through Europe’s largest medieval central square and visited Oscar Schindler’s enamelware factory. I invite readers to look up more about Krakow’s history and culture. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krakow
My acquaintance with central European music and dance provided me with a little background about Zakopane and the region. Just a few clicks from the Slovak border, Zakopane and the outlying villages are home to Poland’s Goral people, also known as the Polish Highlanders. Spread throughout the Tatra mountains into Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the Goral have their own language, music, architecture, and other traditions nurtured over the centuries. Great food too with a local specialty cheese served with jam, local stream trout, homemade pierogi, potato pancakes, and our favorite homemade soups such as garlic and mushroom. We enjoyed several restaurants that featured wonderful music in the village tradition. Check this video for a quick sample.
Our visits to Krakow and Zakopane made an intriguing introduction to southern Poland. Now onto Katowice and WOMEX and lots more music.
Next up: WORT at WOMEX 2017 Part 2