Tag Archives: music

JEMP Festival returns to London for 2013

Normally when I post something on a Sunday, it’s a music clip.  And normally it’s my post.

Today will be another music post, but with a difference. This one wasn’t written by me. For the first time in the history of this blog, I’m posting a guest post. Hooray! The text below was written by the Polski Blog’s fan and reader, Matt Lindley, who has something special for all you (Polish) jazz lovers. Matt, over to you….


Coming to London later this month will be a programme of Polish experimental and jazz music as JEMP Festival hits town. Running from 25th November to 5th December, Jazz and Experimental Music from Poland is a six-day series of concerts at various venues around the city, including Café Oto and Vortex Jazz Club in East London. From Free Jazz to Electroacoustic Improv to Noise, we take a look at three of the JEMP highlights.

Mikołaj Trzaska / Mark Sanders Duo and Mikrokolektyw

25th November 2013 at Vortex Jazz Club, Dalston


Formed out of the ashes of Robotobibok, Mikrokolektyw are a stripped-down duo comprising Kuba Suchar (drums) and Artur Majewski (trumpet). Both members also contribute analogue synth to the mix. Influences from Chicago’s jazz and post rock scene of the 90s are certainly evident, but Mikrokolektyw’s forward-thinking drift is entirely their own. They will be performing music from their new album Absent Minded, out now on Delmark.

Later in the evening, legendary saxophonist Mikołaj Trzaska and drummer Mark Sanders will take to the stage for a special one-off collaboration. Trzaska is best known as a founding member of Polish jazz group Miłość (see below) and has gone on to collaborate with Peter Brötzmann, Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark and others. London-based Sanders is equally well-travelled and known for his diverse and constantly creative drumming.

Piotr Kurek & Andie Brown and Piętnastka

27th November 2013 at OTO Project Space, Dalston


Piętnastka’s (AKA Piotr Kurek’s) massively psychedelic Dalia tape was one of the music highlights of 2011. Kurek’s music weaves synth and organ tones to create fairytale soundworlds inhabited by the ghosts of Eastern European folk music. Hearing him perform live with percussionist Hubert Zemler will be one of the high points of the festival.   

Later in the evening, Kurek will be joined by London musician Andie Brown for another JEMP exclusive. Brown has collaborated with Cindytalk and operates under the solo moniker These Feathers Have Plumes. It will be interesting to hear how her atmospheric ambient drone textures merge with Kurek’s keyboard reveries.

Miłość (Love) Film Screening

30th November 2013 at the Rio Cinema, Dalston


Coming to Dalston’s Rio Cinema will be a special one-off screening of Filip Dzierżawski’s documentary about Polish jazz group Miłość. Founded in 1988 by Tymon Tymański, Miłość were the first Polish band to integrate elements of punk rock, folk and techno into their sound, creating a new style of music known as ‘jass’.

Dzierżawski’s film tells the dramatic story of Miłość ten years after the band broke up, as they prepare for a reunion tour. Will the magic still be there? Expect new interviews, archive material and concert footage as the band discuss their early days and the legacy of their jass sound. The film will be accompanied by a Q&A session.

The third edition of JEMP looks set to be the best yet, so we hope you can make it down to some shows!

Additional information: For a full program of events visit the official website (www.jempfestival.com). For London accommodation check out HotelClub (www.hotelclub.com/United-Kingdom/London-hotels).

Guest post by Matt Lindley

Sunday music: Paula & Karol

OK, it’s definitely time to say goodbye to the summer – and I have a perfect song for this.

The Way We Were was recorded by a Polish folk duo Paula & Karol, and it comes from their 2012 album Whole Again.

According to the blurb on their site

The Guardian listed them in their “sound of 2011 around the world”, stating that „They are Poland’s new superheroes. Not the tight pants, fluttering cape kind. More like, come to our concert – we’ll break your heart, and then we’ll fix it up kind.”

I love their catchy music (thanks Joanna for the tip again), love the video and I’ve had their album on repeat for the past few weeks.

So without further ado….

Sunday music: Mela Koteluk

Ah, my best friend Joanna never fails to impress me. I asked her a few days ago to recommend some new Polish music I might enjoy and within minutes my inbox was full of names, titles, links and videos.

Here’s one I really liked – Mela Koteluk. I had to Google her to find our a bit more about her and it turns out she started out as a backing singer before releasing her debut album Spadochron (Parachute) last year.

In 2013 she was awarded the prestigious Fryderyk Award for the Debut of The Year and the Artist of the Year.

This track is called Melodia Ulotna (Fleeting Melody). Love her energy…

Oh, and do come back next Sunday for my farewell to the summer track!

Sunday music: Dawid Podsiadło

There have been many TV formats that have conquered the world: from Big Brother to The X Factor. Almost every country with a significant TV audience has adopted one of those formats and – quite often – generated a slew of minor celebs and one-off ‘stars’.

In some cases those ‘stars’ became real stars and went on to achieve something bigger and longer-lasting.

Dawid Podsiadło might be one of them.

He won the Polish X-Factor in 2012, got a contract with Sony Music and if this song – taken from his debut album Comfort and Happiness – is a sign of things to come, Daniel might do a bit better than Shayne Ward or Leon Jackson….

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.

Henryk Górecki dies

Sad news this morning – Polish composer, Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, best known for his “Third Symphony”, died in Poland at the age of 76.

Born in Silesia, he spent most of his life working and teaching in Katowice, the heart of the most industrialised region in Poland. Until early 1990s he remained largerly unknown, even in Poland. But his “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”, also known as the “Third Symphony”, composed in the late 70s and released in 1992 to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust, made his name famous in Poland and abroad.

Here is how the New York Times described the symphony’s – and Gorecki’s – rise to fame in 1994:

As Communism in Poland crumbled during 1989, so Gorecki’s music spread. By 1990, Symphony No. 3 was being premiered with big orchestras from Brooklyn to Sydney, and several recordings were made. But not until the smooth voice of the soprano Dawn Upshaw, combined with the full sound of the London Sinfonietta under David Zinman on the Elektra Nonesuch label did all the fuss start.

Released in May 1992, the 52-minute recording moved the symphony from a respected piece in the modern repertory to a universally popular work. The recording held the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s classical chart for 37 weeks and has sat in the top 25 for 93 weeks. It peaked at No. 6 on the British pop chart. Worldwide sales of the Nonesuch recording were over 600,000 by the end of the year. Orchestras rushed to perform the work as a way of keeping up with their audiences. Naturally, this renown didn’t escape the movie makers. The director Peter Weir chose the first movement of the symphony for the climactic scene in his movie “Fearless.”

Another great Polish composer is gone. But his music, inspired by the beauty and the soul of the Tatra Mountains remains: