Podhale (pronounced: Pod-haa-le) is a region in Poland encompassing the meadows and valleys at the approach to the Tatra range of the Carpathian Mountains – stark in their rocky formations like the Alps, yet pastoral in their own way. It is the region of Poland most favoured as a tourist destination. It is the region which I loved most as a child and in which at one time I wished to settle. Podhale is steeped in legends, tradition and folklore. The music, dance and architecture of the area are as unique as the Gorale, the indigenous people who are known for their art, their food, their drinking and their temper. They are surrounded by legends and have been romanticized in a number of stories and paintings.
The main melodic material comes from a popular drinking song. Other songs and dances have also been incorporated and will be recognizable to anyone who knows the region. The pastoral sections are evocative of its beauty while the frantic speed of many passages keeps the suspense and the drama alive.