I love that stuff — the song at the end of the post. One of my early memories is hearing the Maryla Rodowicz song “Kolorowe Jarmarki” (Motley Fairs) on dad’s car radio in 1977 while driving past exactly such a market near Gdansk on vacation there. The song is in the tradition of farewell-to-summer odes that reverberate with larger nostalgia for one’s youth, like Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer.” The next time I heard “Motley Fairs” was at 32.
Rodowicz’s songs are on YouTube, except that one. I did, however, find a cover by a contemporary Ukrainian artist I am not familiar with, Diana Osipchuk.
Her version rocks it out, whereas Rodowicz’s original 1977 song has a “country carnival” sound. Osipchuk does a nice job. What also interests me, is the tangent on ethnic diversity.
Specifically, the diversity among similar peoples. A foreigner will not tell a Yank from a Reb, but every American can. Similarly, there is a difference between Poles and Ukrainians despite the fact that we’re similar in look, language, and culture. Mushroom foraging in forests, for example, is a beloved pastime of all Slavs. Every kid in Poland and Ukraine knows wild mushrooms by name and knows the difference between a prized delicacy and something that will kill you.
Poland has accepted many Ukrainian immigrants over the recent years. Not good, we are two different nations. We’ve done horrific things to each other. That’s the past and the guilty are dead. No more brother wars. Following the hard-fought Poland-Ukraine game in the 2016 World Cup, the players from the opposing sides customarily shook hands, but then swapped their jerseys in a gesture of fraternity.
Ukrainians too, have their internal divisions.
So here is the song. Things that strike me about the cover-version performance:
Polish being a foreign (albeit similar) language for her, she sings it with a heavy accent. Non-native speakers, even other Slavs, have difficulty enunciating the clear vowels and the crisp clusters of Polish consonants. Other than micronation dialects within Poland itself (Kashub, Silesian, Highlander), Slovak is the closest language to Polish. We communicate easily in our respective languages.
At 3:19, she adds an alternate refrain in Ukrainian. I wonder if others pick up on this up too: once in her native language, she vocalizes much more freely.
Anyhow, a high-energy, charming cover. Дуже добре!
Kolorowe Jarmarki (Motley Fairs)
1977 original, 2014 cover below
Kiedy patrzę hen za siebie / When I look far back
W tamte lata co minęły / At those years that passed
Kiedy myślę co przegrałam / When I think of what I lost
A co diabli wzięli / And what the devils took
Co straciłam z własnej woli / What I lost on purpose
A co przeciw sobie / Or gave up in spite of myself
Co wyliczę to wyliczę / Whatever I’ll count, I count
Ale zawsze wtedy powiem / But I’ll always say
Że najbardziej mi żal / That what I miss the most is…
Kolorowych jarmarków, blaszanych zegarków / Motley fairs, tin watches
Pierzastych kogucików, baloników na druciku / Feathery cockerels, balloons on a wire
Motyli drewnianych, koników bujanych / Wooden butterflies, rocking horses
Cukrowej waty i z piernika chaty / Cotton candy and a gingerbread house
Tyle spraw już mam za sobą / So many things are now in the past
Coraz bliżej jesień płowa / Ever closer the pale autumn
Już tak wiele przeszło obok / So much has passed me by
Już jest co żałować / So much to long after
Małym rzeczom zostajemy / To the little things we remain
W pamiętaniu wierni / Faithful in rememberance
Zamiast serca noszę chyba / Instead of a heart I think I bear
Odpustowy piernik / A church-feast gingerbread
Bo najbardziej mi żal / Because what I miss the most is…
[Alternate refrain in Ukrainian added in this cover version at 3:19]