To celebrate the fifth Polish Heritage Days, POSK Polish Centre welcomes you to Katy Carr: Polish British Stories – a journey through 20th century Polish-British friendship, through the music of singer songwriter Katy Carr.
** LIVE BROADCAST ON YOUTUBE **
Inspirational and wide-ranging – though sadly too often forgotten today – the social and cultural connections between Britain and Poland in the early 20th century crossed into all walks of life.
The interwar period – following the restoration of Polish independence – marked a particularly prosperous time for Polish-British friendship. Whilst the Polish-born Pola Negri was lighting up silver screens across the world – and dallying with Charlie Chaplin – Polish songs were being sold and translated into English and vice versa. Meanwhile, in literature and the arts, prominent Polish figures worked closely alongside their British counterparts, creating a vast network of cross-cultural inspiration and influence, from Joseph Conrad to Feliks Topolski, and many more.
And Polish-British cooperation strengthened ever further during the Second World War. Many Poles played a pivotal role in the British war effort, in a variety of sectors – with vital contributions in the Air Force, codebreaking, and espionage. Other Poles joined the Allied fight in Europe, with the Polish II Corps, led by General Władysław Anders – and including many pre-war Polish artists, performers and musicians – achieving victory at the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944.
Post-war, thousands of Poles also decided to settle in Britain, fostering Polish communities across the country – from Scotland to Yorkshire, Lincolnshire to London. The capital was home to a particularly wide array of post-war Polish cultural institutions and organisations, with shows, events, and Polish figures – including Marian Hemar, Zosia Terné and Feliks Konarski – still remembered fondly today among the Polish community.
The concert features a range of music, from 1930s Polish hits, to Carr’s own songs about Polish-British history, including pieces inspired by Edward Elgar and Ignacy Paderewski, Wojtek the Soldier Bear, and Krystyna Skarbek.