Exhibition | The voice of women in tradition – Katarzyna Zedel
Tradition means both continuity and change. To exist, it needs to be passed down to the next generations who adapt it to new conditions.
In rural communities, women – treasure troves of knowledge and conduits of tradition – have played and continue to play an enormous role in the transmission of cultural values, including music.
For many women of the older generation, life began in a similar way. They were born and from their earliest days grew accompanied by songs sung to them by older women from their family and environment: grandmothers, mothers, sisters, but also neighbours and nurses.
However, singing is not just associated with the intimate contact between a mother and her child, it was also important for the whole community. The everyday, common sound of women singing eased their suffering and allowed them to share their moments of joy. During festivals and celebrations, singing became an important ritual that included everyone in the community.
However, women’s role in traditional music is not limited to singing. Although playing instruments has been described as primarily a “gentleman’s affair”, Poland boasts several examples of outstanding female instrumentalists gifted with a talent for playing instruments such as the violin or accordion. They followed their hearts. They remain wonderful examples of courageously standing up against stereotypes.
The exhibition is dedicated to all those outstanding female artists, singers, and instrumentalists, women who marched through their lives with a song to their steps through childhood, maidenhood, marriage. Those who reached the mature age of prosperity.
Katarzyna Zedel – exhibition curator and author