I recently led a Sacred Harp singing school in Jaroslaw, Poland as part of the festival Piesn Naszych Korzeni ("song of our roots"). With the help of Jesse Pearlman Karlsberg and Magdalena Zapedowska, around 60 of us met twice a day for six days, with a final presentation/singing as our last meeting, from which this video is drawn. I loved meeting and singing with all these great people. There's talk of an all day singing next year, and there's already a movement afoot to start a regular singing in Warsaw. There are currently 16 Sacred Harp books in the country that I know of, with another 7 on the way. It's a start anyway.
The festival is one of the best I've ever been to. I even felt inspired to record two CDs while I was there. One will be a live CD from a beautiful Radio Dwojka recording of a concert I did at a candle lit church near the abbey where we were staying. The other is straight unaccompanied solo singing recorded in about an hour in one of the turrets on the abbey wall. This will probably be the first of a slew of Northern Roots music recordings.
One of the most amazing things in Jaroslaw is a little bakery that's only open when they have hot buns- custard, buckwheat (fabulous), poppy seed, blueberry, apple, onion and several others including my clear favorite (featured in the video): the rose petal jam bun. They're kind of hard to explain, but I love them dearly. In my youtube favorites there's an excellent video of Harry Partch making rose petal jam and saying hilarious true things about journalism.
I flew home on August 24 and started graduate school on the 25th.