Monthly Archives: January 2011

Fresh Polish music: Projekt Warszawiak

Over a year ago I wrote about a project called Cafe Fogg, which revived an old Polish crooner’s music and ‘translated’ it for a modern audience. Projekt Warszawiak (Warszawiak, in Polish, is a person living in Warsaw)  is inspired by – and relies on – music produced by legendary Warsaw-based folk bands like Orkiestra z Chmielnej. This is how Łukasz Garlicki and Jacek Jędrasik, two artists behind Projekt Warszawiak, describe their venture:

WARSAW. A city with a broken spine, destroyed tradition and ugly, impolite character, deserves respect. There are few authentic trails of the past left, so it’s worth it to look for them and to share with others even more.
This project is a tribute to all the Warsaw street musicians, pre-war composers, and song writers who gave the music spirit to this city…
Legendary street tunes and lyrics were the inspiration to create the tracks described by digital effects, samples, electronic beat and live instruments.
Special thanks and regards to the Chmielna Street Orchestra – the real source of the party-and-music raptures!

I’m fascinated by the cheeky, in-your-face lyrics (“Your wife won’t find out her hubby drank all night to ladies’ health”) accompanied by dark, at times experimental-sounding electronic music. Not sure this will be everyone’s cup of tea, but I guess neither were the original tracks, although they sat at the opposite end of the musical spectrum.

Nevertheless, Projekt Warszawiak seems to be taking Poland by storm. This video has been viewed on YouTube over a million times already and it’s only been up for a couple of weeks.

I’ve seen this clip posted on Facebook more often than any other Polish video over the past few years. And it’s brilliantly done. You can almost smell Warsaw. The real, everyday Warsaw – where the old world, however ugly or fascinating it might be, clashes with its ambitious, pretentiously modern and at times depressing equivalent.

Here is “Nie ma cwaniaka nad Warszawiaka” (which losely translates as “No one is as crafty as a Warszawiak”). Pure gold.

For more tracks, see their MySpace page and visit their site here.

Read a short story

The first post in 2011 will be short, but hopefully interesting.

I’ve just come across a site for the BBC National Short Story Awards. It’s not a new site, but I thought I’d share a link to it as it also has a short story by a Polish writer, Adam Kaminski.

According to the site,

“Kaminski writes fiction, plays and literary criticism. He was born in 1978 and lives in Gdynia. His first collection of stories, Alone, was published in 2006 and his latest collection, The High Priestess, is currently in press.”

They’ve posted a link to a story called “The Girl from The Train”, translated into English by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, who seems to specialise in Polish literature.

The story opens as a Word document. Enjoy.