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Bob's Blog - Blob's Bog (Page 21)
Blob's Bog
Blob's Bog (Page 21)

Bob's Blog:

It's that time of year again! Here is my schedule for those or you who live in the Rochester area and are interested in hearing me play Polish Christmas carols while enjoying a sumptuous authentic Polish dinner at our finest local restaurants. (Yes, I can play and eat at the same time!):
  • Friday, December 8: Polska Chata, Irondequoit, NY-5 PM - 8:30
  • Saturday, December 9: Wigilia Dinner at St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY from 5:00 to 6:00 PM (Sold Out)
  • Friday, December 15: Euro Café, Geneseo, NY - 5 PM - ? Canceled
  • Friday, December 22: Polska Chata, Irondequoit, NY - 5 PM - 8:30
  • Saturday, December 23: Euro Café, Geneseo, NY - 5 PM - ?
Be sure to call for dinner reservations at both 
Polska Chata and Euro Café.

Stagi Hayden-Duet Concertina
CLICK HERE if interested in buying new.
Na zdrowie!
Saturday, December 2, 2017: Polish Happy Hour
The photos on the right are of Polish Happy Hour, which took place at Polish Villa ll on Harlem Road in Cheektowa, New York. I wish I had stayed a little longer to see the dance performance put on by the Harmony Polish Folk Dancers. Nevertheless, it was nice to visit with some of the dancers and other friends from the Buffalo area. As you can see, the event was very well attended--as usual. Good times!
Kolędy i Pastorałki Playlist 
Wśród nocnej ciszy
Do szopy, hej pasterze
Dzisiaj w Betlejem
Gdy się Chrystus rodzi
Jezus malusieńki
Chwała Bogu w wysokości
Lulajże Jezuniu
Pójdźmy wszyscy do stajenki
Bóg się rodzi
Hej, w dzień narodzenia
Oj, maluśki, maluśki
Tryumfy Króla Niebieskiego
Ach ubogi żłobie
Przybieżeli do Betlejem
Mędrcy świata
O gwiazdo Betlejemska 
W żłobie leży
Ej, byliśmy bracia​

Wśród nocnej ciszy
Do szopy, hej pasterze
Dzisiaj w Betlejem
Gdy się Chrystus rodzi
Jezus malusieńki
Lulajże Jezuniu
Oj, maluśki, maluśki
Ach ubogi żłobie
Przybieżeli do Betlejem
Cicha noc
O gwiazdo Betlejemska
Ej, byliśmy bracia​
Północ już była
Pójdźmy wszyscy do stajenki
Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia 
 Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

December 2017: Pre-Christmas Celebrations
I hesitate to call it Advent, which is a more devotional observance. Nevertheless, December is a special time when we gather with friends and family to share our love, good cheer, and to sing Christmas carols. Traditionally in Poland, as you may know, Christmas carols are not sung until Midnight Mass heralding the birth of Christ and the beginning of the Christmas season. For me it is a time to play kolędy at a few select local venues. Here are some photos I took along the way:

Polska Chata, Irondequoit, NY:

- Krystyna Gutt gave a wonderful presentation on regional Polish Christmas foods. It was very informative and entertaining.
- The Psalmtones sang beautifully -- very tight harmony. I loved it!
- Dariusz Terefeńko (piano) and Anna Weldy (violin) provided the musical accompaniment for the kolędy sing-along. Take it from me, they can really play. Emcee Ralph Józefowicz was the leader. (Great voice!)
- I sat next to two other retirees of the Rush-Henrietta School District, Ann and Dave Scherff, who decided to attend Wigilia to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary -- fifty years to the day! The Scerffs are not Polish, but saw our Wigilia posted in the ladies room of a German restaurant in Canandaigua and thought it would be a good way to celebrate. Everybody loved them and we sang "Sto lat" in their honor. They plan to attend next year too and we hope they do. Of course they will check www.PoloniaMusic.com in lieu of visiting area ladies room in search of the date.

David Bryniarski, President of PHSR at the podium
Place for an unexpected guest
Krystyna Gutt gave a wonderful presentation on regional Polish Christmas foods. It was very informative and entertaining.
Dariusz Telefeńko (piano) and Anna Weldy (violin) provided the musical accompaniment for the kolędy sing-along. Take it from me, they can really play.
My fun table
Dave and Ann Scherff
The Psalmtones
The Psalmtones
156 in attendance
Highlights of the 16th Annual Wigilia presented by the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester:
December 15, 2017: Euro Café Appearance Canceled!
With regret I have to cancel my performance tonight at the Euro Café in Geneseo, New York due to minor surgery (with sincerest apologies to Margaret and Krystyna and their patrons}. Also I will not be able to videotape Ted Zdybał i Hyr at Potts in Buffalo tomorrow evening. Hopefully I will be able to play at Polska Chata and the Euro Café next week. So sorry!
I really love the Euro Café - Real Food & Deli. Margaret and Krystyna rock and the food is delicious and authentic Polish. I'll be there again next Friday (12/16/2016) playing kolędy; maybe I'll see you there. http://www.euro-cafe.us/.
I really love the Euro Café - Real Food & Deli. Margaret and Krystyna rock and the food is delicious and authentic Polish. I'll be there again next Friday (12/16/2016) playing kolędy; maybe I'll see you there. http://www.euro-cafe.us/.
I really love the Euro Café - Real Food & Deli. Margaret and Krystyna rock and the food is delicious and authentic Polish. I'll be there again next Friday (12/16/2016) playing kolędy; maybe I'll see you there. http://www.euro-cafe.us/.
I really love the Euro Café - Real Food & Deli. Margaret and Krystyna rock and the food is delicious and authentic Polish. I'll be there again next Friday (12/16/2016) playing kolędy; maybe I'll see you there. http://www.euro-cafe.us/.
Euro Café - Real Food & Deli in Geneseo, New York
No reindeer games for me!
December 22, 2017: The show must go on!
For some reason this song has been on my mind lately! I will be playing kolędy tonight at Polska Chata in Irondequoit, NY (5-?) and tomorrow at Euro Café in Geneseo, NY (5-?). Unfortunately I must keep my nose bandaged for a few more weeks, but I don't mind.

People have been asking me what happened to my nose whenever I venture out in public. I may as well tell you I got into a bar fight with a couple of ruffians. You should have seen them! They each wore leather jackets and big heavy boots. They also had numerous threatening tattoos on their faces.... and you should have seen their HUSBANDS!!! LOL!!!

No, the truth is I had to have a little basal-cell carcinoma removed from the tip of my nose... and there will be more, I bet.

Merry Christmas everyone!
December 24, 2017 - The First Star
​Here are two excerpts from "Chłopi", a novel written by Nobel Prize-winning Polish author Władysław Reymont in four parts between 1904 and 1909. 

The First Star - from Reymont's "The Peasants" (Chłopi)
         Slowly the village was vanishing in grey snowy shadows, melting away; neither huts nor fences nor orchards could be made out; only a few lights twinkled, more thick than usual, because everyone was busy preparing the meal of Christmas Eve.
        In every cabin, from the richest to the very poorest of all, preparations were being zealously made; in each family room, at the corner next the east, they had placed a sheaf of corn; the tables were strewn with hay beneath bleached lined napery; and they looked out eagerly through the windows for the appearance of the first star.
        The sky, as is often the case when it freezes, was not very clear when evening began to fall; it had seemed to veil itself as soon as the last glow had burned out, and was hidden in the gloom of many a dusky wreath.
        Yuska and Vitek, terribly chilled, were standing outside the porch, on the watch for the appearance of the first star.
        “There it is!” Vitek suddenly exclaimed. “There it is!”
        Boryna and the others and Roch last of them all, came out to see.
        Yes, it was there, and just in the east, having pierced trough the somber curtains which hung round about it: it shone forth from the dark blue depths, and seemed to grow larger as they gazed upon it; gleaming brighter and brighter, nearer and neared, till Roch knelt down in the snow, and the others after him.
        “Lo, ‘tis the star of the Three Wise Men”, he said; “the Star of Bethlehem, in whose gleaming our Lord was born—Blessed be His Holy Name!”
        These words they piously repeated after him, gazing up with eager eyes at the bright far-off witness of the miraculous Birth—the visible tokens of God’s mercy visiting the world.
        Their hearts throbbed the tender gratitude and glowing faith, while they received and absorbed into their hearts that pure light, the sacred fire—the sacraments to fight with and to overcome all evil!
        And the star, seeming to grow larger still, rose up like a ball of fire, from which beams of azure brightness shot down like the spokes of a mystic wheel, darting its rays upon the snow, and twinkling with radiant victory over darkness. Then after it there came forth other stars, its faithful attendants, peering out in innumerably dense multitudes—filling all the heavens, covering them with a dew of light, and making them, as it were, a mantle of dark azure, strewn with silver motes.
    “And now that the Word is made Flesh,” said Roch, ‘it is time to take our meal.”

- Vol.2 WINTER, pp.78-78; Translated from the original Polish by Michael H. Dzierwicki, Reader of English Literature at the University of Cracow

 Talking Animals- from Reymont's "The Peasants" (Chłopi)
        Meanwhile Vitek, having been greatly struck to hear that cattle possessed human speech on Christmas Eve, called Yuzka away quietly, and they went both of them to the cow-house.
        Holding each other by the hands, trembling with awe, and crossing themselves more than once, they slipped in amongst the cows.
        Down they knelt by the side of the largest one, that they looked on as the Mother of the Byre. Out of breath, agitated, with tears in their eyes and dread in their hearts, as if they were in church and during the Elevation-- they nevertheless were upheld by strong trust and a lively faith. Vitek put his mouth to her ear, and quavered in a loud voice:
       "Hist! Grey One! Grey One!”
        But she only gurgled inaudibly, and went on chewing with a roll of her tongue and a smack of her lips.
        “Something strange has come upon her: she answers naught!”
        Then they knelt by the next cow, and Vitek, who by this time was on the verge of weeping, called earnestly to her:
        “Spotted One! Spotted One!
    They both approached very close to her mouth, and listened, holding their breath; but never, never a word!
    Ah! no doubt we have sinned, so we shall not hear her speak. They answer only such as are sinless; and we are sinners!”
    “True, Yuszka, true! We are sinful, we have sinned. O Lord! so it is! Aye, I stole some bits of string from master once. And an old strap besides… Yes, and also…” He could go no farther; remorse and repentance for his faults shook the lad with a convulsion of tears and sobs; an Yuszka, following his example, wept from the bottom of her heart. They cried together, and would not be comforted till they had laid bare before each other all their “manifold sins and offences.”
    At home, no one remarked their absence, for all were piously singing hymns—not Christmas carols, which it was not deemed proper to strike up until midnight.

 Vol.2 WINTER, pp.87-88; Translated from the original Polish by Michael H. Dzierwicki, Reader of English Literature at the University of Cracow. This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

The photo on the left is from the movie version of Reymont's, "The Peasants"(Polish: Chłopi). The film was film directed by Jan Rybkowski and released in 1973.

How was Wigilia celebrated in Poland in the late 1800’s? Here are my notes on the food and customs as described in Reymont’s novel "The Peasants" (Chłopi) - English version: 

Every cabin aired, white-washed, scoured and scrubbed
Pine needles scattered leading to the entrance of the hut
Coloured paper cutouts, ‘globes’, moons and stars
Food, including honey-and-cheese cakes
Church decorated with pine branches
Sheaf of 'corn' (the translator likely meant wheat not corn) in the east corner of room

First star
A needy villager was invited to join the family
Coloured wafers shaped like altar bread
Sour beet-root soup with mushrooms and potatoes
Herring rolled in flour and fried in oil
Cabbage and mushrooms seasoned with oil
Buckwheat meal mixed with honey and fried in oil of poppy seed
Common dry bread, “… it was not becoming on such a great fast day to eat either cakes or strucle (makowiec, poppy seed roll), those containing butter or milk.”

After the meal:
Coffee w/ sugar
Reading of the Nativity
Stories told
Singing of hymns (no Christmas 
carols until midnight)
Children secretly testing animals’ 
ability to speak on Christmas Eve
Shepard’s Mass at midnight

Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia
Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Margaret and Krystyna!
(Euro Café - Real Food & Deli)
Nice turnout at Polska Chata
Polska Chata Christmas tree
Christmas in Poland: Mazowsze - Polskie kolędy (Full Album... Enjoy!!!)
January 1, 2018 - Happy New Year
I never go out on New Year's Eve - too many drunks. Actually I spent my time writing a song. It is on this holiday I think most about my family members who were victims of the Katyń Massacre of 1940. This song was written in their honor -------------------------->

January 5, 2018 - Lira korbowa
The last few days have been difficult. Pipes burst in my building and my life has been interrupted by the mess. Fortunately nothing in my apartment was damaged. Rest easy, friends; my musical instruments are in good shape. By the way, I ordered a hurdy-gurdy from Polish luthier, Mateusz Modzelewski, in Poland. Of course I will have to wait one or two months before I get it. Check it out!

Lira korbowa
I have an interest in musical instruments played in Poland during and before the 19th century. I hope the hurdy-gurdy will and a higher level of authenticity to my kolędy performances.
The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces sound by a hand crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin. Melodies are played on a keyboard that presses tangents—small wedges, typically made of wood—against one or more of the strings to change their pitch. Like most other acoustic stringed instruments, it has a sound board and hollow cavity to make the vibration of the strings audible.

Lira korbowa
Podczas gry w pozycji siedzącej trzymana jest na kolanach, prawa dłoń kręci korbą, lewa naciska od dołu klawisze melodyczne. Korba jest połączona z kołem, które obracając się pociera struny tak, jak w innych instrumentach smyczek.

Co najmniej jedna struna pełni funkcje melodyczne. Skracana jest za pośrednictwem klawiszy z drewnianymi kołeczkami (tzw. tangentami). Pozostałe struny wydają dźwięk o stałej wysokości (burdon), w lirach zachodnioeuropejskich oraz węgierskich jedna ze strun burdonowych (tzw. struna trompetowa) wydaje dodatkowo brzęczący dźwięk, który spełnia funkcję rytmiczną. Efekt brzęczenia jest uzyskiwany dzięki specjalnej budowie mostka struny trompetowej (mostek wibrujący, buzzing bridge), zamontowanego luźno i brzęczącego przy szybszych ruchach korbą.

January 5, 2018 - Fire and Fury: Poland?
I like to read - a habit that may disqualify me from ever being elected President of the United States. Temps here are below zero and will be for several days, so I am looking forward to reading "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" since it is too cold and windy for cross country skiing. In addition to hoping to learn more about fitness of the current administration, I would like to know if there is any mention in the book about the President's trip to Poland last summer. I don't deny his speech was well received throughout Poland and Polonia, but I believe President Trump knows almost nothing about Poland and cares less. That speech, it is reported, was crafted by Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz (born in 1962 in Warsaw, Poland). Dr. Chodakiewicz is a Polish-American historian specializing in East Central European history of the 19th and 20th century. His historical works include: After the Holocaust: Polish-Jewish Relations in the Wake of World War II, and Between Nazis and Soviets: Occupation Politics in Poland. Chodakiewicz lives in the Greater Washington, DC area. Trump had nothing to do with the Warsaw speech, other than reading it to a very supportive audience. True, President Obama displayed similar ignorance when he mistakenly spoke of  "Polish death camps," rather than correctly referring to it as a "Nazi camp." CLICK HERE to order the book from Amazon.com,

January 4, 2018 - "Syberyjskie wakacje"
I just exchanged New Year's greetings with my cousin Danuta who lives in Perth, Australia. Danuta's father (a native of Buffalo, New York) was a victim of the Katyń Massacre and at the age of four was taken with her mother to a Siberian labor camp during WWll. (That's Danuta and her parents in the photo.) Danuta is enjoying very pleasant summer weather in Perth at the moment. I thought it funny when she referred to her labor camp experience as her "Siberian Holiday" That's rich!

I was thinking of Danuta and her family a few days ago when I wrote this song: 
Stanisława, Danuta and Henryk Adamski

Dear America,

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Poland
regaining independence!

On this historic occasion we invite all Americans, including the over 10 million Americans of Polish descent whom we call Polonia, to join us in celebrating our Centennial.

For it was thanks also to America that our Homeland became free again. President Woodrow Wilson, inspired by the Polish statesman and virtuoso Ignacy Jan Paderewski, declared America's support for an independent Poland in his Fourteen Points.

For your assistance in 1918, for your friendship over the past 100 years, we say Thank you America and Happy New Year!

Piotr Wilczek
January 8, 2018 - Fourteen Points Centennial

January 8, 1918
XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski and President Woodrow Wilson
Sunday, January 15, 2018: Polish Winter Festival
The annual Buffalo-area Polish Winter Fest was held last Sunday again at Chestnut Ridge Park and it was great! There was plenty of beautiful virgin snow and the sky was so blue at times it made me think it was thinking about becoming purple. The highlight of the event was the authentic traditional Polish music performed by Ludowa Nuta of Hamilton, Ontario. They are so amazing and I cannot thank them enough! Check the Kulig Page to view their photos and videos.
Polish Winter Festival Group Photo
Wednesday, January 31, 2018: Milada Horáková
I recently viewed the film "Milada" on Neflix about Milada Horáková (née Králová, 25 December 1901 – 27 June 1950), a Czech politician who was a victim of both the Nazis and later of the communist party after WWll. There was a line in the film that I cannot get out of my head because it reminds me of many of the political comments I hear today. Let me paraphrase: 

People will believe what they want to believe and will continue to believe it ... until it is too late. 

And this reminds me of Paul Simon's lyrics from "The Boxer":

All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest...
Lie la lie, lie la la la lie lie
Lie la lie, lie la la la la lie la la lie