Members of the POLIN Choir symbolically woke up the building of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, which has been closed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, by performing Wojtek Blecharz‘s Mantra for Muranów. The premiere was streamed live on 22 June 2020 at 7:30 on the POLIN Museum Facebook page and YouTube channel, and is available for viewing here:

The Mantra for Muranów is a kind of musical walk, fragments of which are written for the spaces of the POLIN Museum building, as well as a sound meditation. In Sanskrit, the word “mantra” means “an instrument for thought.” As the composer points out:

Through musical practice, many of us can experience a state of internal balance or a sense of harmony. Music as a process of continuous becoming is a manifestation of energy, it interacts with the physical world, affects our thoughts, emotions, bodies and electromagnetic fields. […] Buddhist monks from Japan use a bamboo shakuhachi flute as a meditation instrument to achieve mental purity and a Zen state. The Talmud recalls a protective song performed during the plague … Many of these unique functions of music are now forgotten, in Western societies music is often treated as a product, acts as a sound background in everyday life or becomes a part of an exclusive artistic event. The Mantra for Muranów is a piece composed for the exceptional Choir of the POLIN Museum. 

For about an hour the choir, together with flautist Ewa Liebchen, clarinetist Michał Górczyński and trombonist Piotr Wróbel, created sound harmony in the museum building, because harmony is what Muranów, due to its history, and the whole world need at the moment. The project debuted a new temporary exhibition entitled ‘Here is Muranów‘ at POLIN. The project curator and coordinator of the social choir at the POLIN Museum is Ewa Chomicka. The choir has been rehearsing under the direction of Jakub Pałys. The first performance of the work was conducted by the composer.

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