Explore the meaning and story behind one of David Bowie's most iconic songs.
In 1973, while traveling by train across the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, David Bowie had a brief and seemingly insignificant stopover in Warsaw. However, what he witnessed there, and elsewhere in the Eastern Bloc, served as an inspiration for Warszawa from the widely-acclaimed 1977 album Low.
In this episode, our hosts John and Nitzan will look deeper into the origins of this iconic song. Why was Bowie so fascinated with Eastern Europe and the nature of Cold War politics in the first place? How did the sights and sounds that Bowie witnessed during his brief time in Warsaw impact the song’s creation? What were the inspirations for the sonorous yet mysterious lyrics found in the song? And finally, our hosts will attempt to answer arguably the most perplexing question – is Warszawa even about Warsaw?
Click the image below to check out more episodes
both sides of the Iron Curtain
- How David Bowie Created Warszawa / on Culture.pl
- Did David Bowie Know Esperanto: The Invented Language of Warszawa and the Eastern European Story Behind It / on Culture.pl
- The Story Behind David Bowie’s Mythical Walk in Warsaw - Video / on Culture.pl
- Helibo Seyoman: A Tale of Two Cities / on Culture.pl
- Brian Eno / on Wikipedia.org
- Tony Visconti / on Wikipedia.org
- The Communist Regime in Poland in 10 Astonishing Pictures / on Culture.pl
- Warszawa (song) / on YouTube.com
- Tony Visconti's lecture for Red Bull Music Academy / on redbullmusicacademy.com
- Brian Eno's lecture for Red Bull Music Academy / on vimeo.com
- Low (full album) / on YouTube.com
Agata Pyzik / critic, writer, author of Poor but Sexy: Culture Clashes in Europe East and West. Agata kindly agreed to take us on a walk following the footsteps of David Bowie's visit to Warsaw and tell us the story of Warszawa's creation. You can get her book here.
Chris O'Leary / writer, editor, and journalist based in western Massachusetts, author of the Pushing Ahead of the Dame blog, devoted to analysing David Bowie's output song by song. Chris kindly spared his time to record himself reading several lines from his book Rebel Rebel. You can get his amazing book here.
The Culture.pl video team / for letting us use their recording of the walk with Agata Pyzik.
SFTEW Team: Wojciech Oleksiak, Adam Zulawski, John Beauchamp, Nitzan Reisner, Michael Keller & Weronika Fay