Bagpipe player brings history of Polish music to life with series of evocative videos
A traditional bagpipe player and history enthusiast is encouraging Poles to go back to their country’s musical roots through a series of short films which tell the story of old Polish music through its instruments, songs and historical anecdotes.
The project, entitled ‘The Bagpiper’s Column’ is a collection of 13 short historical and musical films created by Mikołaj Wozniak from Gniezno in which he and other musicians, frequently dress in medieval clothes, re-enact traditional songs from Poland on original, old instruments and tell the history behind them.
Wozniak told TFN: “The Bagpiper’s Column’ offers audiences an opportunity to hear old music from 500, 600 and as far back as 700 years ago.
“Re-creating the music was possible due to historical sources: musical notes, iconography, books, pictures and publications written by enthusiasts and researchers.
“The songs in the films originate from medieval times, the renaissance and folk collections.”
Over 20 unique old instruments, crafted by nine traditional instrument makers, are featured in the films, including some of the oldest instruments in the world such as the Shawm and Jaw Harp as well as the hurdy-gurdy, recorder, lute, medieval drum and different varieties of bagpipes, which have been part of the European musical tradition for 2000 years.
The series features the Galician (Spanish), Belarussian, Medieval and Scottish Highland bagpipes and culminates in a film about the Wielkopolska bagpipes which are Mikołaj Wozniak’s main instrument.
The films in the collection were filmed in historical locations in Gniezno and surrounding areas including the gothic church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Gniezno, the Museum of Archaeology in Biskupin and Jankowo Dolne.
Some were also filmed in the Historical Park in the village of Wola Jabłońska and Bukówiec Górny, a village with excellently maintained monuments to Greater Polish folklore.
Wozniak told TFN: “The Bagpiper’s Column came about because I wanted to fill the gap left by the workshops and performances with my band which I did before Covid-19 and which I suddenly couldn’t do.
“It was a way to replace that work and continue to educate people about traditional Polish music despite the lockdown.
“There are also not many films on this subject that can be found on YouTube or elsewhere or ones which tell the story of traditional old musical traditions in an accessible way to those not already familiar with it. I wanted to change this.”
The 13 films in the ‘The Bagpiper’s Column’ can be seen HERE.