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Political Music

Legitimization and Contestation

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Edited By Tomasz Bichta and Anna Szwed-Walczak

In the 12 chapters of this book the authors argue for the universal presence of music in public space and social relations. The examples of American, British, Hungarian, Polish and Russian music serve to elucidate two functions of political music, that of legitimizing and contesting political power. Both satirical songs with their ironic commentary on specific events and people as well as protest songs undermining the system corroborate the universal character of the legitimizing and delegitimizing function of music. The book is addressed to readers interested in countercultural movements and politically engaged music, especially to students of political studies, sociology and cultural studies.

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The Cabaret Song’s Contribution to the Analysis of Socio-Political Realities of the Third Republic of Poland

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Tomasz Koziełło1

Abstract: The chapter describes the socio-political reality of the Third Republic of Poland and attempts at explaining the undergoing processes and their causes undertaken by authors of cabaret songs. In their songs, the artists present bad – in their view – political, economic and social situation, giving as examples lack of strategic political vision, demagoguery and populism of Polish decision-makers, fall of the authority of public institutions, pathologies of public life and low material status of Poles. They see the reasons for this state of affair in lack of competence and experience among the ruling parties, nepotism that promotes weak but loyal candidates, and the egoism of political elites. The source material encompasses 38 songs, created and performed by 14 Polish cabaret bands existing in the 1990s and in the twenty-first century.

Keywords: cabaret song, political song, the Third Republic of Poland

Cabaret as a satirical stage performance has existed in Poland for over 100 years. The first cabaret group was Zielony Balonik [The Green Balloon], established in Cracow in 1905. Zielony Balonik’s shows comprised satirical or even irreverent monologues, skits, humorous poems and songs, poking fun at members of cultural circles of that time. The development of Polish cabaret was not interrupted by the First World War. During the war period, new cabaret groups were founded in Warsaw, among others Miraż [The Mirage] (1915) and Czarny Kot [The Black Cat] (1917). However, artistic activity in the field of cabaret began to flourish...

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