89. Polish Punk, Reggae and Yiddishkeit

Like Pedaya, but in a very different way, German journalist and music aficionado Alexander Pehlemann finds in Krakow, and in Poland in general, a way to access the musical feature of the Polish longing for the extinguished Jewish culture. Pehlemann, the editor of the Leipzig-based magazine ZONIC, gave a lecture at the festival on „black Judaism“ and on the link between Jamaican reggae and the Biblical Babylon and the Polish punk scene, which even under the restrictive communist regime had the courage to explore Jewish elements of a community that was sent to the gas chambers.

„For years, Polish punk has been inextricably linked to reggae, for religious as well as social reasons having to do with resistance against the regime,“ Pehlemann says. „That is what led the punk scene to delve into Jewish culture. Beyond the punk tendency to provoke and to always adopt the one thing that annoys people most, there is something about this genre that is enormously drawn to cultural clashes, and what is Poland if not a clash between Poles and Jews?“

Pehlemann recalls a performance by the poet Slawomir Golaszewski and his band Catharsis at one of the big underground festivals in Warsaw in 1985, back in the communist era.

„At that show, Golaszewski and his band performed a reggae version of a Jewish prayer. He claimed it was the first time since the war that someone in Poland addressed Jewish culture in any way,“ he said. / Israel Hayom

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