Sunday, 25 August 2013

Hands of friendship from Poland

POLISH communities make up a rich and important part of the life of Edinburgh, as well as other places in Scotland and across these islands.

Kapela Dudziarska from Poznan, Poland and BARKA presented and played some evocative and emotionally charged music from their homeland, to rapturous applause at the closing event and celebration for Just Festival 2013.

"The common resonance of the string sound and a distinctive Polish bagpipes with the pipes known and loved in Scotland was very noticeable," one audience member noted.

The band played five different short tunes and have been collaborating with Scotpipe on a charity concert.

BARKA is a Polish homeless group, and has been raising money across Edinburgh in festival season, collecting £310 so far.

The aim is help to rehabilitate people of who have become homeless while in the UK, and it has been going for some 20 years now. "Thank you for supporting us," was the message to Just.  The Polish Centre for Culture and Education also brought a message of greeting this evening.

Beata Skobodzinska, the coordinator of Just Festival, who has done another remarkable job this year, hails from Poland herself.

"Since she joined the festival in 2012 as the Festival Administrator, the office has been a very happy place full of laughter and an occassional Polish song," commented colleague Annika Wolf.

The Polish community has been established in Scotland for many years, since at the end of the Second World War many veterans settled after being posted here. When Poland joined the EU in 2001, an opportunity arrived for a new generation of Polish immigrants to work and study in the UK.

Polish immigrants are currently the largest group of immigrant workers in the city, with the health, further education and tourism sectors accounting for the majority of employers. The City of Edinburgh Council estimates that Edinburgh’s Polish community consists of 8,000 residents.

Many have formed their own community networks and have settled in areas such as Leith, London Road and Marchmont. A variety of Polish shops, services and cafes are available throughout the city region, especially in Edinburgh.

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