Pilgrim songs call
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Our mass pilgrimages are noticeable. Pilgrims’ paths create a completely new musical branch – pilgrim songs that accompany wandering. These songs have even their festivals, for their best performers...
Walking along the Holy Virgin Mary Avenue in Czestochowa we can hear new songs each time. Besides the songs we know well pilgrims sing their own tunes and lyrics connected with wandering. At the same time, their thinking is directed towards heaven and expresses religious experiences. I think that we should be interested in pilgrim songs. Sometimes they are a little chaotic. Many a time they originate spontaneously and their authors do not always use notes, instruments or poetic language in a professional way. They use the so-called native notes. However, that can lead to creating a beautiful branch of culture. Perhaps these words will be read by various authors of lyrics, musicians or performers who would like to get interested in such a large group of young singing wanderers. Man is by nature a home viator, wandering man and he has his own reflection, philosophy, viewpoints, experiences and needs. Pilgrimages are religious matters, which believers combine with spiritual experiences, enlightenment resulting from meeting God and other people. Pilgrims’ songs are wonderful forms of expressing these experiences by young people since they have rhythm and movement – dance – encoded in them. We notice the dancing pace of young pilgrims who walk through our city. This is a wonderful and interesting phenomenon that is perfectly expressed by the motto ’Here comes the youth!’ The extremely interesting thing is that John Paul II, as a bishop, participated in the ‘Sacrosong’ festivals promoting songs of the young generation. I remember very well how Fr Jan Palusinski, the creator and organizer of the ‘Sacrosong’ festivals, tried to convince others to his idea. The festivals gathered huge crowds and it was the times when the festivals had no formal sponsors. We remember Cardinal Karol Wojtyla being present in the Festival of Sacrosong in the Czestochowa cathedral in 1978, just before his election to the papacy. He entered the cathedral singing and in an almost dancing pace, such was the personality of the future Pope. I also remember my students whose chaplain I was in Czestochowa for 16 years. I remember them singing and playing the guitars. They represented pure youth and they were, so to say, the essence of singing, flowing from academic hearts. The memories of John Paul II commenting on the song ‘Barka’ during one of his pilgrimages. He said that ‘Barka’ had accompanied his pontificate; that he had gone with the song all over the world. Today pilgrims also like this song and the song ‘Goralu, czy ci nie zal’ [Highlander, don’t you feel sad]. The latter has been even regarded as a religious song by young people. Being in the Holy Land, in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, I heard a Spanish version of this song. It is immediately associated with the Polish Pope. People need pilgrims’ songs and it would be pitiful if particular songs pass without notice. This is also a very interesting sociological phenomenon, which has many aspects to take into account. Considering the immense variety of these songs I cannot omit the religious songs created by Fr Stanislaw Sierla. People who sing are people of the future. We must aim at having more joy in our hearts, more openness to life, people and their problems. Let us not be disturbed by the fact that young people sing a little too loudly – it is important that they love music. And music has accompanied man since the beginnings. It has always lifted up our spirits, expressing what is hard to say, bringing joy and relief. We can see that people show great kindness to Bishop Antoni Dlugosz who has shown that Christians can joyfully praise the glory of God, also by singing and dancing. Ordinary pilgrim songs can sometimes do more good than many serious sermons or speeches. There are such waves of relationships that make people feel spiritual community, make them be better, love deeper, be open and more eager to meet human needs and bring relief in misfortune. Songs are such waves. Therefore, let us love singing; let us love music not only by listening to it but also by creating it, remembering that good songs are those that build good.