Posts Tagged ‘poland’

Silesian Roots: Your free bonus CD

Posted on March 4th, 2016 in News, Recent posts by .

Songlines bonus CD Silesian Roots

This bonus CD is only available with the April (#116) edition of Songlines. Click here to purchase your copy.

The new Songlines (April, #116) issue is accompanied by a bonus CD featuring music from Silesia. Silesia? Yes, it’s the largely industrial border area of southwest Poland that also extends into the Czech Republic and Germany.

The musical capital is the city of Katowice, which has just been named a UNESCO City of Music. It’s long been famous for its Music Academy, as the city of the Polish Radio Symphony orchestra and as the home of composer Henryk Górecki (1933-2010), who became internationally popular with the chart success of his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs in the 1990s.

I was born in Silesia… It is old Polish land,’ he wrote. ‘But there were always three cultures present: Polish, Czech, and German. When you look at the history of Poland, it is precisely the multiculturalism, the presence of the so-called minorities that made Poland what it was.’

Folk music was for years hidden in the shade of classical and jazz music, but now Polish audiences are enjoying the rich harvest of the roots revival, which has been consistently reported in Songlines. Hence the covermount Silesian Roots CD.

Silesia stretches from Germany in the West to the Slovakian border in the East. It includes the Odra river lowlands and Beskid highlands, cultivated by Wallachian shepherds originally from Romania.

That’s where the name of the band Vołosi (track 1) comes from – and they feature both classical and folk musicians. The Mysłowice-Wesoła Orchestra (track 3) is the Silesian version of Austro-Hungarian military bands, a world-wide genre that spans from Balkan Gypsy bands to Mexico and the US Polka Belt. With Ŝanĝo (track 7), you can draw parallels with the Scandinavian tradition, as defined in 1991 by the Finno-Swedish band Hedningarna. Gooral (track 8) mix mountain music with electronica while the Kapela Byrtków (track 14) are one of Poland’s best regional bands from a tradition that spreads along the Carpathian mountains and has inspired artists as diverse as Béla Bartók, the Taraf de Haidouks and Muzsikás.

The ever changing landscape of Polish-Silesian music is appropriately reflected by Mirek Rzepa (track 15), a veteran guitarist who after three decades of playing in some of the most important bands released his first solo album – and amazed his audience by switching from guitar to piano.

Words by Petr Dorůžka, Czech Radio


1 Vołosi – ‘Tsavkisi’, Nomadism (2015)
2 Psio Crew – ‘Hajduk’ Szumi Jawor Soundsystem (2006)
3 Mysłowice-Wesoła Orchestra – ‘Marsz Śląska’ Orkiestra Dęta i Orkiestra Rozrywkowa (2013)
4 Lelek – ‘Hymn do Żywy’ Brzask Bogów (Dawn of Gods) (2016)
5 Indialucia – ‘Acatao’ Acatao (2014)
6 Blokowioska – ‘Kołysanka’ (Lullaby) Radio Katowice EP (2014)
7 Ŝanĝo – ‘Grandega Ŝanĝo’ The Change of the Earth Vibration (2014)
8 Gooral –  ‘Pod Jaworem’ (Scapegoat) Better Place (2014)
9 Garbowski-Cruz Quartet – ‘Part I’ Rashomon Effect (2014)
10 Foliba –  ‘Legenda’ feat Cheeba Tan (2015)
11 Adam Oleś – ‘Miałabych Jo Kawalera’ Hurdu_Hurdu (2012)
12 Paprika Korps – ‘Przede Wszystkim Muzyki’ Live at Tampere (2006)
13 Lautari – ‘Blaszane mordy’ Vol 67 (2015)
14 Kapela Byrtków – ‘Koń’ (live) Wszystkie Mazurki Świata (2015)
15 Mirek Rzepa – ‘Polna’ Rymszary (2011)

katowice_logo_all_in_eng Katowice_CityofMusic2


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Songlines Encounters Festival – Wednesday June 6

Posted on May 25th, 2012 in Recent posts by .


Our second annual Songlines Encounters Festival starts in less than two weeks and we’ve got a great opening night lined up.

The festival will kick off with Poland’s R.U.T.A. 

The band only formed last year, but have already made a big impact in Poland with their radical songs and anti-Catholic lyrics. The lyrics all come from old folk poems, and the band features some of the country’s best-known punk singers accompanied by medieval fiddles and percussion. 

Tying in with the Occupy movement, this is incendiary and entertaining music. This is a UK premiere so don’t miss it.

You can book your tickets by visiting the Kings Place website or by calling +44 (0)20 7520 1490. We hope to see you there!

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Interview with Basia of Chłopcy kontra Basia

Posted on March 30th, 2012 in Recent posts by .

Tomasz Waldowski

This month the Polish trio Chłopcy kontra Basia was named the winner of the World Music Network Battle of the Bands
The trio is made up of singer and clarinettist Basia, double bassist Marcin Nenko and drummer Tomasz Waldowski. Basia talks about the announcement. 
How did it all start? Did you always expect to be a singer and musician?
Thanks to my mum and dad it all started very long ago – as a child I used to listen to fantastic gramophone records, from traditional jazz to progressive rock and I believe these first years of a ‘passive’ musical education were incredibly vital for my further development. But I wonder if I ever seriously wanted to be a musician or singer… I was spending hours on practising passages on piano at musical school, but on the other hand I can’t remember if I ever had an idea how I can use these abilities for expressing myself. For a long time I felt like someone who can play, yet doesn’t have anything to say in a musical way. That is why I started to explore absolutely new things like theatre, dance, poetry, folklore – traditional music and traditional way of singing – and after four years of that research, I woke up and realised that I am finally ready to make my own project where I can combine all what I experienced. Then I decided to create “Chłopcy kontra Basia”.
How did you meet the other members, Marcin Nenko and Tomasz Waldowski?
In November 2009, when the idea of creating a band came to my mind, I was absolutely convinced that I had to find a double bassist. I always adored instruments with a low, dark sound. As I had just moved to Krakow, where I knew nobody, I decided to look for a musician on the internet. I met with a bassist and after playing a few notes and quickly realised we are destined to make music together. That was Marcin. At the beginning we were so devoted to composing that we didn’t think much about looking for anybody else. And then my boyfriend Tomasz, who is a drummer, visited me in Krakow and I wanted to see what drums would sound like in the mix.  So we played and what I heard was so complete that Chłopcy kontra Basia was born at that very moment.
What does Chłopcy kontra Basia mean?
I have never supposed that our name would appear in the Songlines Blog, cause if I have, I wouldn’t have agreed on such a Polish name. Literally, Chłopcy kontra Basia means ‘Boys versus Basia.’  There is me, bringing ethnic influences, and the boys with a jazzy background. And there is a play on words – if you put together ‘kontra’ and ‘Basia’ you get ‘double bass’ (kontrabas).
You take most of your inspiration from traditional Polish musics. Do you consider yourself a ‘traditional’ Polish band or do you add other influences into the mix?
All songs we perform are written and composed by ourselves, but in a traditional style. When writing lyrics – I use old language and motives which appear in old traditional Polish songs. Although our arrangements are rather modern – we combine jazz, drum’n'bass, trip-hop, etc – we use some melodies or rhythms reminiscent of Polish traditional forms like oberek or kujawiak. All in all we are not ‘traditional’ Polish band, but we are highly influenced by Polish traditions.
What was the first album you owned?
It was  Emergency on Planet Earth by Jamiroquai. Although there was a collection of CDs in our living room I remember that it was the first CD which I had on my private shelf. I’m glad it was Jamiroquai who was my hero. 
What is your all-time favourite album?
There are many jazz and rock records which I’m devoted to like Kind of Blue by Miles Davis or Nursery Crime by Genesis. There were months when I was completely fascinated by Have One on Me by Joanna Newsom and recently released Weightless by the Becca Stevens Band. I appreciate these two ladies for their original compositions, subtle voices, charm and this ‘something’ that they have. And, of course, I spend hours on listening to old records of traditional tunes collected from various regions of Poland. 
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to Portrait of a Singer by Stanisław Fijałkowski – a great singer from Chrzanów who unfortunately passed away a couple days ago at the age of 84. It’s a big sorrow he left us.
So now that you’ve won the World Music Network Battle of the Bands, what’s next for the band?
Winning the World Music Network Battle of the Bands was a surprise for us and we hardly believe it really happened. We realised that our music stands a chance to appear somewhere else and to be appreciated by listeners from abroad. I am glad that it mobilised us to work instead of spoiling us. We are working on our songs, writing new lyrics, melodies and dreaming about recording an LP. 
For more details about the World Music Network Battle of the Bands and a list of previous winners:
You can read a review of their recent Krakow gig in our You Should Have Been There section of our next issue (June 2012 #84), on sale April 27. 

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