Czech brothers in Poland — a community in Zelów and its musical heritage Cover Image
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Bracia czescy w Polsce — wspólnota w Zelowie i jej dziedzictwo muzyczne
Czech brothers in Poland — a community in Zelów and its musical heritage

Author(s): Piotr Dahlig
Subject(s): Music, History of Art
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Summary/Abstract: The article presents the history of the Czech minority living in Zelów in Central Poland(Sieradz district) and constituting an Evangelical-Reformed parish there. A historical backgroundof this ethnic-religious group is connected with religious persecution and forced emigrationof Czech brothers, mainly from Silesia, starting from the 18th century. Zelów, boughtby the community in 1803, became a multicultural, as well as a Czech-Polish-German-Jewishtown in the 19th century and remained so until the World War II. The Czech specialty wasweaving (a weaving shuttle is seen in the present-day emblem of Zelów) from the beginningof the 19th century. After 1945 only 10% of the interwar Czech population remained inZelów. Today, about five hundred Czechs constitutes 7% of Zelów inhabitants altogether.The culture of religious singing is the most important symbol of Czech identity. Liturgicalsinging was directed by a cantor cocreating (?) a religious-social-national communityfrom the beginning of the 19th century to 1945. Choirs (?), also the four-voice ones, wereformed in the second half of the 19th century. Religious song books, including Baptist ones,used until recently, come from the end of the 19th century. A church choir, presently rare,cultivates singing in Czech. Choir members know a sacred repertoire as well, however, itplays a secondary role as daily life is also shaped by clustered religious attitudes derivingfrom the practices of an extremely minority confession. Apart from a vocal culture, a teamviolin, mandolin and guitar playing was practised in the interwar period. Recently, children’smusicality has been reflected in the activity of an orchestra of (one-handed) bells (Zelowbells), it being the only one in Poland.

  • Page Range: 96-103
  • Page Count: 9
  • Publication Year: 2012
  • Language: Polish