Mury (song)

Mury (Walls) was a sung poetry protest song written by Polish singer Jacek Kaczmarski in 1978. It was especially popular among the workers of Solidarity (NSZZ Solidarność) and is one of Kaczmarski's best known songs. It became a powerful symbol of the opposition to the communist regime in the People's Republic of Poland and was sung at countless rallies, meetings, protests and strikes throughout Poland during the 1980s.


The lyrics for Mury were written in 1978 to the melody of the song L'Estaca by the Catalan singer Lluís Llach, which Kaczmarski heard on one of several Spanish records he borrowed from a friend in December of that year. The intention of Kaczmarski's lyrics was to examine how a song or poem can cease to become the 'property' of the author after it is 'stolen' by the masses, who may appropriate it for a particular cause even if it wasn't the author's intention in the first place. In this context, the song can be interpreted as supporting the Polish or Catalan struggle for independence, but also as a critique of certain aspects of mass social movements.[1]

Solidarity's anthem

Despite its pessimistic conclusion (A mury rosły, rosły…, "And the walls grew, grew…") and, ironically, despite Kaczmarski's intention to criticise social movements for sometimes 'stealing' the words of an artist, the song's message of struggling for independence against oppression meant that Mury quickly gained protest song status and it was soon accepted nationwide as the unofficial anthem of Solidarity. Its refrain (Wyrwij murom zęby krat!, "Pull the bars from the walls!") later became the signal of the underground Radio Solidarity and the most popular part of the song, while its last pessimistic part was often left out. Kaczmarski came to see this phenomenon as both a misunderstanding of the song's meaning and a vindication of the point he was making when he wrote it. Nonetheless it remains one of his most popular songs.[1]

In 1987, after several years of severe repression by the communist regime in the People's Republic of Poland had managed to erode some of the support for Solidarity, and before the Polish Round Table Agreement of 1989, Kaczmarski expressed his disappointed with the disillusionment he saw in Polish society by writing 'Mury '87'. In this song, which is set to the same melody and which Kaczmarski referred to as an 'antonym' of 'Mury', he argues that instead of singing and hoping, people need to be taking action once again.[1]

In 2005, 'Mury' was performed by Jean Michel Jarre jointly with the Gdańsk University Choir and the Polish Baltic Philharmonic during the concert Przestrzeń Wolności (Space of Freedom, 26 August 2005) on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the formation of Solidarity.[2]


Mury Walls
On natchniony i młody był, ich nie policzyłby nikt. Young and inspired he was. They were numberless.
On im dodawał pieśnią sił, śpiewał że blisko już świt. He gave them strength with his song, singing of the nearing dawn.
Świec tysiące palili mu, znad głów podnosił się dym, Thousands of candles they lit for him, smoke rose over their heads,
Śpiewał, że czas by runął mur... He sang it’s time for the wall to fall down
Oni śpiewali wraz z nim: They sang along:
Wyrwij murom zęby krat! Pull the bars from the walls!
Zerwij kajdany, połam bat! Tear off the shackles, break the whip!
A mury runą, runą, runą And the walls shall fall down, fall down, fall down
I pogrzebią stary świat! And they will bury the old world!
(x2) (x2)
Wkrótce na pamięć znali pieśń i sama melodia bez słów Soon they knew the song by heart and just the tune, without words,
Niosła ze sobą starą treść, dreszcze na wskroś serc i głów. was carrying the old truth, bringing shivers to the hearts and the heads.
Śpiewali więc, klaskali w rytm, jak wystrzał poklask ich brzmiał, So they sang, they clapped to the rhythm, sounded like gunshot,
I ciążył łańcuch, zwlekał świt... But chains were heavy, delayed was the dawn was
On wciąż śpiewał i grał: He was still singing and playin’
Wyrwij murom zęby krat! The teeth of bars pull from the walls!
Zerwij kajdany, połam bat! Tear off the shackles, break the whip!
A mury runą, runą, runą The walls shall fall down, fall down, fall down
I pogrzebią stary świat! And they’ll bury the old world!
(x2) (x2)
Aż zobaczyli ilu ich, poczuli siłę i czas, At last they saw the number of them, they felt their strength, their time,
I z pieśnią, że już blisko świt szli ulicami miast; And singing that the dawn is near, they walked down the streets of towns
Zwalali pomniki i rwali bruk - Ten z nami! Ten przeciw nam! They smashed the statues, uprooted cobbles — He is with us! He is against us!
Kto sam ten nasz najgorszy wróg! Who's ‘lone is our greatest foe!
A śpiewak także był sam. The singer was just alone.
Patrzył na równy tłumów marsz, He watched the steady march of crowds,
Milczał wsłuchany w kroków huk, Silently heard the boom of steps
A mury rosły, rosły, rosły The walls were growing, growing, growing
Łańcuch kołysał się u nóg… The chain was dangling at the feet...
Patrzy na równy tłumów marsz, He watches the steady march of crowds,
Milczy wsłuchany w kroków huk, Silently hears the boom of steps,
A mury rosną, rosną, rosną The walls are growing, growing, growing
Łańcuch kołysze się u nóg... The chain is dangling at the feet...
(Instrumental chorus and hum of chorus) (Instrumental chorus and hum of chorus)

See also


  1. (in Polish) Interview with Kaczmarski on 18 October 1987, originally published by the journal INDEKS, featured on Jacek Kaczmarski homepage Archived 2006-10-15 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Yalta 2.0, Warsaw Voice, 31 August 2005, last accessed on 8 October 2006.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.