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Mury (Walls) was a sung poetry protest song written by Polish singer Jacek Kaczmarski in 1978. In People's Republic of Poland, in the early eighties of 20th century it became a symbol of the opposition to the communist regime. It became popular among the workers of Solidarity (NSZZ Solidarność) and is one of Kaczmarski's best known songs.



The lyrics for Mury, though written by Kaczmarski in 1978, adapted the music for the song L'Estaca by the Catalan singer Lluís Llach. In this poem Kaczmarski's intention was primarily to note how a song or poem can cease to become a 'property' of the author and is 'stolen' by the masses, who may adapt it to their causes even if it were not the author's intention in the first place. In this context, the song can also be interpreted as a praise the Catalonian struggle for independence but also as of an important of the artist and a critique 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 the intention of the poet to criticize social movements for 'stealing' the texts, the messages of struggling for independence and against oppresive authorities contained in it meant that Mury quickly gained the protest song status. It was sung by protesting workers and students and soon was accepted nationwide as the unofficial anthem of Solidarity. Its refrain (Wyrwij murom zęby krat!, "Pull the bars from the walls!") became the signal of underground Radio Solidarity and the most popular part of the song (while its last pessimistic part was often left out); a fact which Kaczmarski saw as amusing giant misunderstanding of the song's meaning. Nonetheless it became one of the most popular songs by Kaczmarski.[1]

In 1987, after the period of severe repressions by the government managed to erode some support for Solidarity, and before the Polish Round Table Agreement of 1989, Kaczmarski, disappointed with disillusionment he saw in Polish society, wrote another song, 'Mury '87', which takes up the theme of 'Mury' and criticizes the apathy in the society. In that song, which he called an 'antonym' of 'Mury', he argued that instead of singing and hoping, people need to be acting.[1]

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


Mury (Walls)
On natchniony i młody był, ich nie policzyłby nikt He had youth and vision, they were a legion
On im dodawał pieśnią sił, śpiewał że blisko już świt. He aided them with the song, singing of a nearing dawn.
Świec tysiące palili mu, znad głów podnosił się dym, They lit a thousand candles for him, smoke over their heads,
Śpiewał, że czas by runął mur… He sang that it was time for the wall to fall,
Oni śpiewali wraz z nim: They sang together with him:
Wyrwij murom zęby krat! Pull the bars from the walls!
Zerwij kajdany, połam bat! Loose the chains, break the whip!
A mury runą, runą, runą And the walls will fall, fall fall!
I pogrzebią stary świat! And will bury the old world!
(x2) (x2)
Wkrótce na pamięć znali pieśń i sama melodia bez słów Soon they knew the song and melody by heart
Niosła ze sobą starą treść, dreszcze na wskroś serc i głów. Carried the old words, shivers of heart and heads.
Śpiewali więc, klaskali w rytm, jak wystrzał poklask ich brzmiał, So they sung, they clapped to the rhythm, sounding like gunshots,
I ciążył łańcuch, zwlekał świt… And the chain was a burden, delayed was the dawn…
On wciąż śpiewał i grał: And he still sung and played:
Wyrwij murom zęby krat! Pull the bars from the walls!
Zerwij kajdany, połam bat! Loose the chains, break the whip!
A mury runą, runą, runą And the walls will fall, fall fall!
I pogrzebią stary świat! And will bury the old world!
(x2) (x2)
Aż zobaczyli ilu ich, poczuli siłę i czas, And they saw their numbers, they felt the strength and the moment,
I z pieśnią, że już blisko świt szli ulicami miast; And with the song that the dawn is near, they marched into the streets;,
Zwalali pomniki i rwali bruk - Ten z nami! Ten przeciw nam! They destroyed the monuments and cried out — He is with us! He is against us!
Kto sam ten nasz najgorszy wróg! Who's alone he is our worst enemy!
A śpiewak także był sam. And the singer was also alone.
Patrzył na równy tłumów marsz, He looked at the steadily marching crowds,
Milczał wsłuchany w kroków huk, In silence he listened to the thunder of their steps,
A mury rosły, rosły, rosły And the walls grew, grew, grew
Łańcuch kołysał się u nóg… The chain still dangling at their feet…
Patrzy na równy tłumów marsz, He looks at the steadily marching crowds,
Milczy wsłuchany w kroków huk, In silence he listens to the thunder of their steps,
A mury rosną, rosną, rosną And the walls grow, grow, grow
Łańcuch kołysze się u nóg... The chain still bouncing at their feet…
(Instrumental chorus and hum of chorus) (Instrumental chorus and hum of chorus)

See also


  1. ^ a b c (Polish) Interview with Kaczmarski on 18 October 1987, originally published by the journal INDEKS, featured on Jacek Kaczmarski homepage
  2. ^ Yalta 2.0, Warsaw Voice, 31 August 2005, last accessed on 8 October 2006.

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