Monthly Archives: August 2009

Wycinanki at the Horniman Museum

Quite a few good Polish cultural events are taking place in London this autumn. I’ll have more details nearer the date (mid-September).

Now however, if you’re in London or visiting the city and need somewhere nice and quiet – with a bit of traditional Polish art thrown in – why not hop on the train to Forest Hill and visit the fabulous Horniman Museum and Gardens?

It’s a stunning place, where you can sit in the park with a book, admire some fantastic panoramic views of the capital, gaze at some not-too-exotic animals kept in what they call a mini-zoo or spend a lovely afternoon in the quirky Horniman Museum.

It specialises in anthropology and natural history and has a rather impressive collection of musical instruments. And for another month and a half you can also see an exhibition on Polish wycinanki – paper cuts.

Polish paper cuts (wycinanki)

What are they? Let me quote the Museum’s website:

Wycinanki was traditionally used by Polish peasants to decorate their cottages and they often depicted scenes from daily life, such as weddings or holidays.This beautiful art form is still popular and widely practised in two regions of Poland, Kurpie and Lowicz.

This is some seriously complex stuff, and if you’re into that kind of thing, I guess a trip to south London might be a good idea.

If that’s not your thing though, Horniman Gardens are still well worth the trip. If only to try and spot as many London landmarks as possible from the top of the hill…

More on the exhibition here.

Image © dalbera via Flickr, used under Creative Commons licence

Spotify playlist – don’t forget!

I completely forgot to mention in my previous post thepolskiblog’s Spotify playlist – if you’re a Spotify user, click here to see and play it.

Remember, it’s a collaborative playlist, which means you can add and share with others your favourite Polish tracks – and in fact a Myslovitz lover must have added their entire back catalogue as all ofa sudden the playlist seems to be very biased towards Myslovitz ;)

Anyway, keep adding, keep sharing and enjoy it.

Fresh Polish music – Gaba Kulka

So Madonna’s first Polish gig this week in Warsaw seems to be the biggest musical event of the summer (in the pop category at least – Britney’s cancelled, and last week’s U2 gig in Chorzow probably fell into a totally different category altogether). Although when I say ‘the biggest I actually mean the most controversial as some Polish Catholics are up in arms claiming that the date of the gig was chosen on purpose to coincide with a Polish church holiday and that’s not a day to wave your underpants about.

But to me the biggest musical discovery of the summer so far is a young Polish singer named Gaba Kulka.

I don’t know much about her, I was given her CD for my birthday (thanks, Joasia!) and – as it’s quite interesting – I’m sharing my discovery straight away, before I’ve had a chance to read up on her.

As my friend said, ‘it’s very arty’. Hmm. Yes, it’s a bit arty. Think a cross between Kate Bush and Tori Amos. At least that’s the first impression after just a couple of sessions with the CD. It’s one of those records, which evelove with time, there’s always something new to discover.

I have no idea how popular Gaba is in Poland at the moment, but as always, if my friend Joasia recommends it, it must be good.

Here’s a sample:

More Polish music and culture