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Making Music In The Polish Tatras: Tourists, Ethnographers, And Mountain Musicians

By Tom Pryor

Timothy J. Cooley

Indiana University Press

The Tatra mountain range marks the rugged and remote border between Poland and Slovakia, and offers up some of the most stunning vistas in Central Europe. The region also boasts a unique highland culture and musical traditions, especially in Poland, where the Górale (highlanders) are considered an ethnic group unto themselves. UC Santa Barbara music professor Timothy J. Cooley writes a riveting account of how tourism and ethnographers helped shape and preserve the music of the Górale, who were canny enough to play and preserve the music that outsiders wanted to hear, spurring tourism in the popular resort region of Zakopane. Cooley digs deep into the lives of contemporary mountain musicians, logging time at the weddings, funerals and festivals that sustain them, while tracking their ongoing attempts to balance traditional music-making with the demands of the contemporary marketplace. Cooley even includes a section on the groundbreaking 1991 collaboration between the Trebunie Tutki fiddlers and the Twinkle Brothers, a Jamaican reggae group, demonstrating that music from this small corner of Europe still commands a global reach.