When I started to gather thoughts and formulate this project in 2010 I had a first idea. It was about the common traditional music around the Baltic Sea and what it might contain.
My first and obvious thought was the music that sailors, merchants, militaries, travelers, must have brought with them back and forth over the sea. The “engelska”-tradition in the south of Sweden was an easy entrance into this area.
It turned out there was so much more! Throughout the project we have stated, over and over again, that exploring culture is not about finding the differences, but pointing out the similarities. And the more we spend time together the more similar everything feels. It is just a little creek that separates us…! We have found the stories in the songs and the 3/4-rythms are continuously appearing.
At the eleventh hour we are back where we started – the “engelskas”! When broadening the network we have met musicians in Warsaw that mainly focus on the Celtic music tradition, and together we have found similar types of tunes in Sweden and Poland. In Sweden they most likely came with the sailors 200 years ago, in Poland with immigrating workers.
In September we arranged something we came to call a “prestudy”. Tomasz Biela, Ewelina Grygier, Kuba Pietrzak and I met up at Barylka pub (where all celtic musicians in Warsaw gather every week for sessions) to exchange tunes. It all ended up in creating a day with music and dance workshops and a concert.
We named the project Macklamara after a jig from C.G. Tullberg’s notebook that is a part of the notebook collection of the renowned fiddler Ola i Skarup. A type of dance that has not in the 20th century been played in Sweden as a traditional folktune, but is still present in the notebooks around 1800. In Poland the szots, szats etc (scottish influenced tunes and dances) have been recognized quite recently in the archives and we are so inspired that we will continue to look at these tunes and dances.
Follow Macklamara on Facebook to be updated on our project activities. There is more to come!