The Beloved Bard of Solidarity

Jacek Kaczmarski Wrote the Soundtrack for Poland's Cold War-Era Resistance Movement

A microphone on a stand; a man with a guitar. The waiting audience is restless, shifting in seats as he tunes his instrument. He speaks one word—Kołysanka, lullaby in Polish. The audience settles, a few beats of silence pass. He begins with a quiet musical introduction, simple, soothing.

And then he sings. 

The song is about children who walk round and round the yard of an orphanage, but are not orphans. One watches as his father is taken away from their home in shackles. Another wants to write a letter to her …