Lined up with tradition. Organic music and a new project for Babadag – Jidnka

The opening ceremony of the 24th popular festival of Polish radio Nowa Tradycja will take place on May 13! The festival will open with a performance by the Polish-Lithuanian band Papadag. The leitmotif of the festival parties are groups of musical cultures that lie at the intersection of our eastern borders: Polish-Lithuanian, Polish-Lithuanian, Belarusian and Polish-Ukrainian. The music of the Suwałki region and the Vilnius region, two regions where Polish and Lithuanian cultures have been intertwined for centuries, will be reached by the Babadag ensemble, whose starting point will be two main elements of human life, and at the same time the most primal forces that direct our life – love and death, that is, Lithuanian: meilė ir mirtis. Band leader Ola Bilińska and the Kriščiūnaitė sisters who make up Babadag spoke about this project.

KGHM Polska Miedź SA

Patron of the 24th popular festival of Polish radio “Nowa Tradycja”

We will show the slogans of love and death in an eco-economic context, in the context of our relationship with animals. Songs from the Polish-Lithuanian border abound with characters from the animal world. They often carry rich symbolism, playing the role of companions, messengers, and monitors of the fate of heroes, as well as companions in everyday activities. From the perspective of the eyes of animals, we will tell a story about the fate of man. From birth to death – said Bilińska.

As the world of songs is long and wide, both death and love offered at Babadag party will be diverse. We will meet mystery, hidden and unacceptable love, and dramatic points. Ola Bilińska and the group were interested in expressive combinations of folk motifs, and wanted to update the message of traditional songs.

– They will not be singles folk songs. We put them in our artistic perspective, we created music collages, said Ola Bilińska.

Stories about human life through the eyes of animals reached the group so easily that themes related to nature in Lithuanian songs are very popular. Beginning with Polish and Lithuanian texts, Ola Bilińska wanted to show topi and classical motifs, which could be quite extreme in both cultures.

The link that binds everything together is feeling – love. I would like to tell you about the different faces of love in the cultures of our borders. Nature will be together. Permeates the natural world… permeates people’s lives. Now, unfortunately, it penetrates less and less. I would like this to be a commentary on our modern world and our relationship with nature. Before, nature was an inspiration to us. Today we are away from her.

As Raminta Kriščiūnaitė noted: There is a lot of nature in traditional Lithuanian songs, everyone talks to birds, there is sun, moon, stars…

– Lithuanian songs are full of symbolism. You see two sides of the story: one about nature, the other about human life. All these symbols are mixed. – Lauksmina Krišiūnaitė added.

In 2018, the band returned with a surprising new lineup: Ola Bilińska invited three musicians from Warsaw and three female singers from Vilnius to collaborate. The Vilnius lineup consists of three Kriščiūnaitė sisters: Lauksmina, Raminta and Dominyka, singers associated with the traditional Lithuanian music scene.

– We thought it good to combine Polish and Lithuanian music. Besides, it’s a good opportunity for us sisters to do something together. We have been associated with folklore since we were young, because our mother works in a cultural center, she knows a lot of people from the environment! – said one of Kriščiūnaitė’s sisters, Raminta.

“In Babadag, we have an acoustic core firmly rooted in traditional music, but we are instrumentally modern, but with a vintage touch,” said Belinska, referring to the cult archetypes of Rolands that accompany the band during concerts.

Meetings of Babadag artists on the Vilnius Warsaw line have been suspended for nearly two years due to the pandemic. Artists used the two-year respite for personal development, in both the private and professional spheres. Now, when they meet again and create together, the musicians are accompanied by an atmosphere of celebration and joy, enjoying the possibility of unloading the energy accumulated during this time, although the geopolitical situation overshadows the happiness of the meeting on the stage.

– But we are glad that our borders are still open. It’s a luxury we can still dispose of, Belinska said.

Our listeners may associate Ola Bilińska with the competition performance at the “New Tradition” 2014 festival. At that time, the artist addressed Jewish songs.

Listen to Ola Bilińska’s performance in 2014: YouTube, RCKL

On the beginnings and evolution of Babadag, music from the Polish-Lithuanian frontier, about life changes and musical evolution – in an interview with leader Ola Bilińska and the Kriščiūnaitė sisters.

In addition to primarily Polish music, as it is in May, as well as advertisements and news from the world.

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Program title: Muzyka Nocą

led: Alexandra Tikarska

Release date: May 9, 2022

Release time: 0.10

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