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Ola Bilińska - Libelid / Poland

Ola Bilińska’s record Beryozkele subtitled Kołysanki jidysz (Yiddish Lullabies) was released three years ago and soon turned out the greatest sensation in its time – both phonographic and in concert. It achieved the title of the Folk Phonogram of the Year 2014. Lovers of folk and Jewish music, fans of alternative music, and those who look for the unique sound were equally captivated.

Last year the artist presented something like a sequel supplementing her first record, Libelid, with the subtitle Pieśni miłosne jidysz (Yiddish Love Songs). Together with her group, Bilińska will promote the new record during the festival.

Libelid is a cycle of love songs, sung by Bilińska with the accompaniment of a group of experienced musicians from Gdańsk, Warsaw and Sejny. The Libelid project, a follow-up of the stream of modern adaptations of Yiddish music started by Beryozkele, premiered on 26 April 2015 at the final concert of the New Jewish Music Festival in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. The record was released on 5 May 2016.

Libelid programme compositions are selected pre-war Yiddish songs, telling the stories of various shades and faces of love. The texts clearly allude to the Jewish lifestyle which strongly influences the emotional and family life of the members of the community: arranged marriages, strong family ties, snapshots of everyday life, such as it was before Shoah. On the other hand, there are also texts of such poets as Bruno Schulz’s friend Debora Vogel, or Mojsze Lejb Halpern, which abound with universal poetic images, in which love is not measured by time, customs and origins. They are still surprisingly fresh and topical, with their charming humour and subtle atmosphere.

Ola Bilińska is a vocalists and guitarist. She also plays the synthesiser. She is known from ensembles Płyny and Muzyka Końca Lata, and her author’s Babadag and Bye Bye Butterfly.

photo: Dariusz Gackowski, Festiwal Ethnies

The concert took place in 2017.

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