Logo YouTube
Logo Facebook
The Project


Spotkanie (Polish: 'Encounter') are a German-Polish Choir, based in Berlin. The name stands for the encounters with their neighboring countries through the medium of singing. The choir was founded in 1989 by Urszula Badura-Schmidt and Joseph Wilkosinski - who is the choir director still to this day. At the first meeting, almost twenty-five years ago, only eight singers attended.  However, today the choir numbers around seventy members with an average age of sixty years old who are not all exclusively German-Polish.


Each year the choir perform several concerts, with tours in Poland and Germany. The repertoire consists of German and Polish art, church and folk songs. For the 'Heimatlieder' album project, thirteen members of the choir took part in the studio recordings.
The biographies of the Polish singers are quite diverse. The conductor of the choir, for example, Joseph Wilkosinski, left Poland in the 1970s and would have continued a career as a lawyer, and indeed joined the Communist Party - but this was not his path. The music-loving Wilkosinski came to Germany with just his guitar and worldly possessions. He first lived in Westphalia and over the subsequent years led several projects with German choir singers. After the fall of the Iron Curtain he moved to Berlin for professional reasons and was a founding member of the first German-Polish choir in the re-unified Germany's capital.


Spotkanie "Goralu"

Spotkanie "Czemuzes mnie, matulenko"


Irena Szimanskis family emigrated to Germany in the 1950s after her mother had finally located Irena's supposedly lost grandfather in Berlin.  The family then left Silesia to join him there. Barbara Ludyga came to Germany in 1981 as a seventeen year old with her parents, also for political reasons. It was the early days of the Polish Solidarity Movement, civil resistance that the government - with the declaration of martial law in December 1981 - was trying to suppress.  It was a difficult time, with many Polish families trying to escape the situation. Such diverse people from Poland all met in Berlin through singing - their shared passion.

Góralu, czy ci never żal / Highlander, pray tell, it does you no harm

You've been separated from your country
The dark woods and pastures afar
And the brooks' silver ribbon
Highlander, pray tell, it does you no harm
Highlander, return to the pastures afar

And the highlander, he looked up to the mountains
His eyes clouded with tears
"From the mountains we must part
These troubles, my dear sir, will only make us suffer further"
Highlander, pray tell, it does you no harm
Highlander, return to the pastures afar



Czemużeś mnie,matuleńko / Dear mother, why did you have me married?

Dear mother, why did you have me married?
When I don't yet understand homely duties
And have not yet enjoyed the world?

(Anonymous, from Kujawy)

'Góralu, czy ci never żal' and 'Czemużeś mnie, matuleńko'  are two sad folk songs from the 19th Century.  During this period, the area of today's Poland was occupied, at various times, by Russia, Prussia and Austria.  As a result, many melancholic, yearning songs would have been sung . In the socialist era of the People's Republic of Poland such songs could be heard in schools, because they were seen as an expression of Polish identity. 'Góralu, czy ci never żal' is a song of unknown authorship, from the Tatra Mountains in the Carpathians, Southern Poland. It tells the story of a homesick mountain dweller (a highlander), who had to leave the pastures and forests, in search of food, in search of sustenance. In the 19th Century it was sung only in southern Poland, but today it is a song for many an occasion that every Pole knows. The song gained further prominence during the papacy of Karol Józef Wojtyła (Pope John Paul II) because he came from this area in southern Poland. When he became Pope, Poles would sing the song to him at public appearances, in Rome and in Poland. 'Góralu, czy ci never żal' was, from the beginning, included in the repertoire of Spotkanie. For the Polish members, it is closely associated with their personal history - and their departure from the Polish homeland.


 'Czemużeś mnie, matuleńko' comes from the Kuyavian region in north-central Poland, on the Vistula. It is the farewell song of a woman who was married without her consent. She does not yet feel ready for married life, and longs to see more of the world, to dance and to sing with the young people throughout the night!