Saltarello – a lively folk dance from near Naples, Italy. Danced in pairs. It comes from the 1st half of the fourteenth century, mentioned for the first time in a manuscript from the year 1390. Eventually, it became a court dance. Also known as Alta Danza in Spain, Pas de Brabant in France and Quadernaria in Germany.

Słoma (Straw) – or Słoma-siano (Straw-hay), a Breton dance Branle De Champaigne danced in a circle and finished with a pageant. Its origin may be dated on early Middle Ages, however its steps evolved and their form became more court-like. Popularized in Poland thanks to the recordings by Open Folk band (album “Branle” from the year 1995). The name of the dance is supposedly misleading, because it came from nickname of one of the members of the band - Jerzy “Słoma” Słomiński.


Motyle (Butterflies) – or Motylki (Little Butterflies) - an old French dance, an ancestor of a later court dance - allemande. Two versions are danced - slow and fast. The melody itself was taken by us from the 4th album by Open Folk from the year 1993. The titles of the tracks on this album are quotations from poems. This dance bears the following verses: ”The voices of fine joy arose at once. The trembling harps were calling merrily. A feast was set around, The night was passing blissfully. Three days we cheered over the beaten And we were summoning the hawks from the heaven. They came from all the winds Onto the feast over the enemies.”



Praczki (Washerwomen) – branle-type breton dance. Also known as Washerwoman’s Branle and Branle des Lavandières. Description of the steps and neumas with the melody come from "Orchésographie" tractate from year 1589, written by a dance theoretician, Mr Thoinot Arbeau. The characteristic thing in this dance is the flirt between the pairs of the dancers, when the men threaten the ladies with their fingers, while the ladies stand with their hands on hips. The dance became popular in Poland thanks to the recording by Open Folk from year 1995. Source

Taniec Węgierski (Hungarian) – performed by other bands under various titles (for example Taniec słowiański (Slavonic dance). The truth is it’s a breton dance called Kost Ar C'hoat, one of the folk dances danced in a circle. Where did the misleading name come from? We don’t know yet

Belgijski (Belgian) – a cover of t’Smidje (Blacksmith) from 1998, performed by a modern belgian band Laïs. The text is a story of a blacksmith, who is not very fond of his marriage, sung in Dutch. Surprisingly, the melody has spread in various circles as so-called Belgijka or Taniec Belgijski (Belgian Dance). The dance took its steps from another French dance called Chapelloise known in Scandinavia as Aleman's marsj.

Drumul Draculi – free translated - The path of the Devil. A dance known in Moldova, Romania (Друмул Дракули), and Hungary (Ördög útja). It comes from the Hungarian minority living in Moldova.

Maltańslki (Mltese Dance) – it’s other names are Branle Maltese or Marazula. A branle-type dance, danced in a circle. According to a French dance theoretician Thoinot Arbeau (1519-1595), it originated on Malta and was danced on court masquerades. Over time, it spread itself in France. As it is described, at every repetition of steps the dancers made a different expression on their faces and performed different gestures. Source

Kender - presumably the steps of this dance come from the beginning of the reconstructive movement in Poland and were created on the basis of other dances by a dancing group from the Bolkos’ castle. The melody is an original composition by Karol Kruś. It was popularized thanks to a recording from White Garden band repertoire, year 1998. The titile Kender comes from the nickname of one of the female reconstructors. Music: Karol Kruś

Specknerin - or Nonesuch, a melody from England. The first notes and dance figures come from year 1651, from a tractate "The English Dancing Master" written by John Playford. The choreography seen nowadays on historical shows was created in Germany in the 1970s. Tractate

Taniec niedźwiedzi (Bear Dance) - depending on the region, it may have different names: Branse de L'ours, Polka de L'ours, Pòlca der ós, l’Orso Balù (France), Berendanz, Berenbranle, Bärentanz (Germany), Berenbranle (Netherlands), Il balli del Urso, Danza del Oso, Danza’l Osu (Italy), Dança da Ursa (Portugal)... Similarly numerous are the theories on its origin (starting from the most… acceptable to us):
A) the melody is a remnant of medieval bear handlers, who trained Pyrenean bears for dancing and performed with them at trade fairs in French cities between the 9th and 13th century. Or possibly it comes from the jugglers who danced in bear costumes, singing a text about a bear in Occitan.
B) it is a 19th-century folk dance from Brittany / Flanders / Champagne / Pyrenees / Provence / Asturias / Cornwall...
C) it’s someone’s musical invention from the 60s. For example - a recording from year 1972 with a citiation of this melody link.
D) it’s a dance from Poland / Czech Republic / Russia, which came to France in the 60s along with a wave of interest in the culture of Eastern Europe. It may even be related to pagan celebrations of the spring solistice, during which the bear is a symbol of the subsiding winter.
Whatever the truth is, today the Dance of Bears, along with its steps, moved to folk ball and medieval events, in which we’ll not disturb it… but on the contrary.


Nakon – a funeral rhapsody about a historical figure known from the records by Ibrahim ibn Jakub. Nakon is the lord of Garad stronghold, and the ruler of a Pomeranian Slavonic tribe called Obodryci. He died in 966 leading an uprising against the Saxons. We wrote the words of the song inspired by a novel by Anna Świrszczyńska titled „Arkona – gród Świętowita” („Arkona – the Stronghold of Świętowit”), which was published in 1978.



Wieczny ogień (Eternal Fire) – also Piosenka Jaskra (Dandelion’s Song) or Zapachniało powiewem jesieni (It smelled of autumn) - a ballade with text by Andrzej Sapkowski and music by Grzegorz Ciechowski. The piece is known from the story “Eternal Fire” coming from “The Sword of Destiny” saga (1994) and movie “The Witcher” (2001). In the movie, it is performed by Zbigniew Zamachowski playing bard Dandelion.


Pada deszczyk (It's Raining) – a traditional folk song from approx. 17th century, presumably from nearby Rakowicze (Augustów District) right on the Polish border with Belarus. The polyphony that appears in the song drifted from behind the eastern border. In the 4th part of „Dziady” (1822) by Polish national poet Adam Mickiewicz, there are two lines taken from the song’s text: "Kto miłości nie zna, ten żyje szczęśliwy, i noc ma spokojną, i dzień nietęskliwy" ("The one who doesn’t know love, lives a happy life, has a peaceful night and a non-wistful day") It is sung by Gustaw the Hermit, signed „people’s song”. Interestingly, these two lines appear also in many other songs – you can read the full genesis here.

Lipka (Linden) – a folk song known in Poland, Czechia, Moravia, Slovakia and Russia. The Polish text comes from Kobylin (Wielkopolska). Its variants are different depending on the region. The first references of this song come from the 16th century.

In Taberna – it comes from a collection of songs called Carmina Burana (Codex Buranus / Songs of Buren), written down by monks near year 1230. The manuscript including 254 poems and songs was found in 1803 in a German abbey. The songs were written in Old French and Old German. We chose a song that is… convivial: In Taberna quando sumus (Praise of an Inn) and we translated it to Polish.



Bitwa (Battle) – a cover of a piece performed by a Belarusian medieval music band Stary Olsa (Стары Ольса). Originally called Arsanskaja bitva (Аршанская Бітва), it is a rhymed text about events from year 1514, when Polish-Lithuanian army battled against the Russians. It was translated from Polish into Belarussian. The description comes from Kronika polska, litewska, zmudzka i wszystkiéj Rusi (The Polish, Lithuanian, Samogitian and Ruthenian Chronicle) written by Maciej Stryjkowski in 1582. In our version the piece became a universal song about a medieval battle.

Koło Jana – a song sung in the Midsummer night. We used one of the oldest known Polish folk texts - Pieśń sobótkowa (Midsummer Song) from near the Narew river. Actually we sing only a part of it, because the original is a conglomerate of several text motives.

Herr Mannelig – a medieval Swedish ballade from the 11th century, telling a story of a female mountain troll who wants to become a human. She believes it will happen after she marries a knight called Mannelig. She offers him wonderful gifts – horses, a sword, a mill, rings, but he rejects her offer. There are many versions of the ballade based on this story. We created our own translation into Polish.

Helvegen (A Way to Hel) –  a cover of a song by a popular Norwegian band Wardruna, who are widely known as creators of soundtrack from TV series Vikings. The piece tells about death. It contains quotations from poetic Edda called Hávamál (The Song of The Highest), which comes from the 10th century, Scandinavia. Music: Einar Kvitrafn Selvik from album "Runaljod - Yggdrasil" (2013).

Wilcza zamieć (Wolven Storm) – (Priscilla's Song) a love ballade from game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015). After the game’s great success, the piece became very popular and is being widely covered, sung in different languages and music styles. Lyrics: Aleksandra Motyka, music: Marcin Przybyłowicz.

Oj, siadaj, siadaj (Oh, sit, sit) – a ritual wedding song, sung during przenosiny (relocation) – the Bride’s departure from her parents’ house to the Groom’s house. The Bride herself remained silent, saying goodbye to the house and family. There are many variants of this song. Most of them come from the north-eastern part of Poland. They were decribed by Oskar Kolberg (a famous Polish etnographer). The oldest recording of this song was made in 1955. In "Nad Niemnem", a novel by Eliza Orzeszkowa published in 1888, the writer quotes this song in Cecylia’s wedding scene.

Villeman og Manghild - a medieval ballade of Harpens Kraft kind. It comes from Scandinavia - Norway, Sweden (Gudmund og Signeliti), Denmark, Iceland (Gautakvæði). The earliest text of hundreds of its variants comes from a Danish manuscript from 1583. Lyrics tell the story of a playing a golden harp and his fiancée Manghild kidnapped by a Troll. We used a fragment of this story, translated into Polish. More

Zoriuszka - (Ой, зоря ты, зорюшка) a polyphonic Russian song popularized by zespół Piesnochorki (Песнохорки) ensamble, from town Barnauł (Барнаул) in Altai region. In the ‘80s, members of the ensamble wrote down the melody from folk singers living in Sibiryachikha (Сибирячиха) village, Novosibirsk region. In the beginning (17th century) it was a wedding song sung in the morning, on the wedding day. It was performer by Young women dancing in a circle. The original has 18 stanzas interrupted by melody luli-luli, which is characteristic for the Russian tradition. The popular names appearing in the lyrics were probably swapped during the specific young couple’s wedding. The lyrics are full of symbols connected with leaving the state of maiden. At the same moment the old day passes and a new day gets up, while the couple passes over the footbridge over the water. At the same time, the lyrics can be interpreted as a Spring ritual song, when during the spring solstice Jaryło kidnaps Marzanna and leads her through the underworld. Source 1 Source 2
We combined Zoriuszka with Repasseado – a melody of a Portuguese dance.





Skalmeje
– a cover of a piece by a Danish medieval folk band Krauka. The piece took its name from an instrument similar to shawm.



Memento – an acoustic cover of a piece by Swiss folk-metal band Eluveitie from album „Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion” (2009). The band performs pieces with lyrics in Gaulish. This language is also the source of the name of the band.

Last of the Wilds – an acoustic cover of a piece by Finnish symphonic-metal band Nightwish from album “Dark Passion Play” (2007). There are two versions: instrumental and with Finnish words (Erämaan viimeinen), telling about longing for primeval landscape of nature. Music: Toumas Holopainen.

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    If anyone can complete our knowledge about the origin of these melodies, please contact us, we will appreciate it.
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