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Remembering David Bowie's Birthday and His ‘Mythical Walk’ Through Warsaw

Screenshot from a video of Bowie's performance of the song "Warszawa" in Japan (see video bellow).

Screenshot from a video of Bowie's performance of the song “Warszawa” in Japan (see video bellow).

Culture.pl, an online magazine devoted to promoting Polish culture, marked David Bowie's January 8 birthday by recalling a short online documentary linking him with Polish capital Warsaw.

The documentary was released July 2016 and traces Bowie's impromptu visit to Żoliborz, a peripheral Warsaw neighborhood during a train stopover in 1973 or 1976.

More than any other influential Western musician, Bowie spent time in Eastern Europe and passed twice through Warsaw by train, on his way to or back from Moscow. During one passing, Bowie allegedly took a walk around the train station and bought some Polish records from a nearby bookstore. The six-minute documentary reconstructs the walk and hypothesizes that it led to producing of the song “Warszawa” on his album Low which came out several months later.

The following video presents Bowie's performance of “Warszawa” at the opening of his concert in Tokyo, Japan, on December 12, 1978.

The song is co-written with Brian Eno, and shows influences from Polish folk music. The documentary alleges that one such influence might have come from the record of the folk ensemble Śląsk.

This LP presents the song “Helokanie” composed by Stanisław Hadyna, based on a tune performed by cow herders.

In March 2016, a mural commemorating the recently deceased Bowie and his character Ziggy Stardust was painted in the district of Żoliborz.

In 2016, Global Voices covered global reactions to Bowie's death including lamentations from the Caribbean and the unveiling of a giant mural dedicated to him in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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