Making Music in the Polish Tatras: Tourists, Ethnographers, and Mountain Musicians.

Author:Tabor, Nathan
Position:Book review

Making Music in the Polish Tatras: Tourists, Ethnographers, and Mountain Musicians. By Timothy J. Cooley. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2005. Pp. xvii+293, introduction, glossary, notes, references cited, illustrations, index, compact disc.

Relying heavily on his own position as an ethnographer and musician, Timothy J. Cooley's latest book Making Music in the Polish Tatras: Tourists Ethnographers and Mountain Musicians carefully employs an oft-used ethnomusicological model wherein the subjects of music and cultural dynamism guide the ethnomusicologist who offers us a historically and ethnographically dynamic look into the music of a particular region; in Cooley's case, the music of Southern Poland's mountains. Positioned between the geography of its locale and the social community of its musicians, Cooley's stance view focuses on at the process of playing mountain music in the Tatra region of Poland as part of a dialogue between himself and his subjects mapped out in part by previous ethnographers and tourists. The Gorale people, the music they play, and the ethnographer are all actors in the challenge of interpreting song definition, cultural questions, and the relationship between music and region (250). While attempting to foreground interpretation, Cooley frames all his questions of place, modernity, history, and globalism as part of a regional and cultural specificity, embodying Gorale ethos and the musical culture of the Tatra region.

From the outset, Cooley outlines the important relationship between the ethnographer and the mountain musician as typified in the historical characters of Dr. Tytus Chalubinski and guide Jan Kreptowski-Sabala (introduction). Cooley credits Chalubinski with promoting the Tatra region as a tourist destination and what Cooley refers to as "brokering" Gorale cultural practices; by this the author means the ethnographic work on the promotion of music that was often done in tandem in Chalubinski's work (104). Jan Kreptowski-Sabala represents an indigenous and authentic construction of Gorale ethnicity, as reified by tourism and cultural promotion, whose local knowledge and relationship to the urban inteligencja (Polish "intellectuals") expanded the scope of Gorale cultural ethos; he reaped the benefits of Chalubinski's desire to promote Gorale culture by providing the musical material that seemed to embody as transient, but tangible, sense of Gorale culture. Cooley attempts to form...

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