Tag Archives: Kroke

Urna and Kroke, a Well-Designed Collaboration

Urna and Kroke – Ser

Urna and Kroke – Ser (Urna Chahar-Tugchi / Uct, 2018)

One would think that teaming up a singer born to nomadic herders on the Ordos grasslands of Inner Mongolia and a Polish band known on the world music scene for their forays into Klezmer, Jewish music, folk, jazz and fusion as an unlikely mix or, perhaps, just unadvised. Good thing for us that vocalist Urna Chahar-Tugchi and Kroke band members Tomasz Kukurba (viola, percussion, vocals and flute), Jerzy Bawoł (accordion) and Tomasz Lato (double bass) are cleverer than any of us.

The recording, Ser, out on the Urna Chahar-Tugchi/Uct label is simply stunning. Conjuring up a seamless expanse of evocative musical imagery by way of new takes on traditional songs and freshly penned tracks, the Mongolian singer and the Polish band make for a perfect match.

Ser is an elegant collaboration that opens with the traditional song “Zandan Hureng (My Sandalwood Brown.” Framed by the Mr. Kukurba on violin, Mr. Bawoł on accordion and Mr. Lato on double bass, Urna’s vocals soar like a bird and adding some equally impressive vocals by Mr. Kukruba makes the track sweeter. Ser just get better with an accordion opening on “Nojiyaa” and Urna’s lovely vocals, but one can hardly go wrong with a song where the opening lyrics are “On the banks of the Green River a horse waits.”

Title track “Ser” is another stunner in its simplicity of vocals and double bass written by Urna and Mr. Lato. The jazzy simplicity on this track woven out of voice and double bass is achingly lovely. Equally delicious is “Baigal Dalai (Infinite Nature)” another track written by Urna.

Ser further unfolds with traditional song “Undur Uul (On the Summit of a High Mountain) that thrums as if on the back of a horse riding across the grasslands. “Jigder Nana” is a sweetly sassy number that downright catchy with some jazzy interplay between vocals, accordion, violin, double bass and some snappy percussion. It’s simply impossible not to wowed by tracks like”Shirdegiin Chaidam (Flowers of the Steppe)” the charming “Altan Altan Jigjuuhai (Golden, Golden Little Bird)” and a capella track “Erdenis (My Wishes for Humanity).”

Finely worked tracks like “Jergelgeen/Kukurna (Fate Morgana)” a piece written by Urna and Mr. Kukurba, where the melding of vocals against a kaleidoscope of viola and electronica proves the power and depth of this collaboration, where the work is done and there is nothing left but to fly. It’s an ethereal soulfulness.

Ser is your lush ride across the grasslands.

Buy Ser.

Share

Artist Profiles: Tomasz Lato

Tomasz Lato – Photo by Angel Romero

Bassist Tomasz Lato was born in Cracow in 1968. Both his parents were musicians, and so he started playing the piano as a child. At the age of fourteen he changed to the acoustic bass. His wide range of musical interests led him to various ensembles.

During his time at High School and his studies at the Music Academy of Cracow he played in Jazz Groups, worked as a musical director in theater and broadcast productions, joined the Philharmonic Orchestra, the “Capella Cracoviense”, the “Sinfonietta Cracovia” and the “Heidelberg Chamber Orchestra”. Beside all that activities he is a requested studio musician, also for pop music productions and soundtracks.

He is a member of acclaimed Polish group Kroke.

Discography

* Klezmer Acoustic Music Trio (Oriente Musik, 1996)
* Eden (Oriente Musik, 1997)
* Live at The Pit (Oriente Musik, 1998)
* The Sounds of the Vanishing World (Oriente Musik, 1999) – German Record Critics Award in 2000
* Ten Pieces To Save The World (Oriente Musik, 2003)
* East Meets East (EMI classics, 2003)
* Quartet – Live At Home (Oriente Musik 2004)
* Seventh Trip (Oriente Musik 2007)
* Out of Sight (Oriente Musik 2009)
* Feelharmony (EMI Music Poland, 2012)
* Ten (Oriente Musik, 2014)
* Cabaret of Death: Music for a Film (Oriente Musik, 2015)
Traveller (Universal Music Polska, 2017)
Kroke 25, The Best Of (Universal Music Polska, 2018)

Share

Kroke’s Alluring Musical Travels

Kroke – Traveller (Universal Music Polska, 2017)

Kroke, the Polish world music band that is highly popular abroad, in countries like Germany and Spain, has released a superb album titled Traveller. As the name indicates, the recording reflects the experiences the band members accumulated during more than two decades of touring.

I saw Kroke live a few years ago in Norway and the three virtuoso musicians put together a wonderful show. On Traveller, Kroke’s is equally great. The ensemble showcases its multi-faceted musical essence with a mix of Polish folk, Balkan, French, Spanish and Pat Metheny-style contemporary jazz.

Although Traveller is essentially an instrumental album that highlights masterful viola, accordion and bass work, multi-instrumentalist Tomasz Kukurba delights the listener with falsetto wordless vocals and charming whistling on one track.

The songs titles in English, Polish, Spanish and French indicate the expansive world view of this excellent Polish trio.

The lineup includes Tomasz Kukurba on viola, vocals, violin, whistling, flutes, darbuka, cajón, percussion and mouth percussion; Jerzy Bawol on accordion; and Tomasz Lato on double bass. Guest musician Slawek Berny appears on percussion and drums.

Traveller is an exquisitely-crafted album that crosses musical boundaries and uncharted worlds, and celebrates the international travel experiences of Kroke.

Buy Traveller

Share

Artist Profiles: Tomasz Kukurba

Tomasz Kukurba at Forde in 2010 – Photo by Angel Romero

Tomasz Kukurba was born in Cracow, Poland in 1969. He started playing the violin in elementary school. At the age of ten he sang in the Cracow Philharmonic Choir and toured Germany and France, performing the works of Krisztof Penderecki.

During his time in high school, at the age of fourteen, he started to play the viola, which became his main instrument. Kukurba worked with the avant-garde jazz ensemble Mixtura. Like the other members of Polish band Kroke he studied classical music at the Music Academy of Cracow.

He was member of the Academy’s String Quartet and various other chamber orchestras, playing primarily the music of Penderecki, and joined, along with Tomasz Lato, the Sinfonietta Cracovia and an experimental jazz group.

Discography

* Klezmer Acoustic Music Trio (Oriente Musik, 1996)
* Eden (Oriente Musik, 1997)
* Live at The Pit (Oriente Musik, 1998)
* The Sounds of the Vanishing World (Oriente Music, 1999)
* Ten Pieces To Save The World (Oriente Music, 2003)
* East Meets East (EMI classics, 2003)
* Quartet – Live At Home (Oriente Music 2004)
* Seventh Trip (Oriente Music 2007)
* Out of Sight (Oriente Music 2009)
Live in Førde, with Tindra (Talik, 2011)
* Feelharmony (EMI Music Poland, 2012)
* Ten (Oriente Musik, 2014)
* Cabaret of Death: Music for a Film (Oriente Musik, 2015)
* Traveller (Universal Music Polska, 2017)
* Kroke 25, The Best Of (Universal Music Polska, 2018)

Share

Artist Profiles: Kroke

Kroke in 2009

 

The Yiddish word Kroke means “Cracow”. The group Kroke is strongly linked to Kazimierz, a Jewish settlement that had been an autonomous Jewish town up to the 19th century and then became the Jewish neighborhood of Cracow. Until 1939, Cracow and especially Kazimierz was one of the most important centers of Jewish cultural life in Europe.

The group was created in 1992 in Cracow on the initiative of three lifelong friends and graduates of the Cracow Academy of Music: Jerzy Bawoł (accordion), Tomasz Kukurba (bratsj) and Tomasz Lato (bass)

Having gone through the successive phases of education in classical music, and then fascination with jazz and progressive music, as Kroke they concentrate on playing and composing with the realm of authentic Jewish music. Each member of Kroke is equally strongly engaged in the creative process of the group.

Though the label “Klezmer” may indicate a certain direction, the music of Kroke is not necessarily linked to any of the styles nowadays connected with this concept. Using traditional material as the foundations on which to build ingenuous arrangements and improvisations, exploiting their previous experience, transmitting the profundity of man?s feelings and nature, Kroke creates new, unique compositions as well as a sound which is thus far unheard in Jewish music.

 

 

The release of a first cassette entitled Kroke in 1993 led to numerous invitations to festivals and concerts all over Europe. Beside their regular concerts in Cracow the group started to tour extensively. Among many other successful concerts there were highlights like the E.B.U. Contemporary Folk Festival (Roskilde/Denmark) in June 1996 and the WOMAD Festival (Reading/U.K.) in July 1997. At the same time the group intensified their work on the improvement of their technique and – through study of the sacred books – investigated the tradition and philosophy of the Jewish nation.

The mystical atmosphere of Kazimierz, the unshaken dignity of its six-hundred-year-old tradition, reflection on the sufferings of the past, on the present, on hope and trust in man, as well as common creative work found their outcome in the album titled Trio (Oriente RIENCD04), which was released 1996 in Berlin/Germany.

Kroke are: Tomasz Kukurba – violin; Jerzy Bawol – accordion; and Tomasz Lato – double bass

 

Discography

* Klezmer Acoustic Music Trio (Oriente Musik, 1996)
* Eden (Oriente Musik, 1997)
* Live at The Pit (Oriente Musik, 1998)
* The Sounds of the Vanishing World (Oriente Musik, 1999) – German Record Critics Award in 2000
* Ten Pieces To Save The World (Oriente Musik, 2003)
* East Meets East (EMI classics, 2003)
* Quartet – Live At Home (Oriente Musik 2004)
* Seventh Trip (Oriente Musik 2007)
* Out of Sight (Oriente Musik 2009)
* Feelharmony (EMI Music Poland, 2012)
* Ten (Oriente Musik, 2014)
* Cabaret of Death: Music for a Film (Oriente Musik, 2015)
Traveller (Universal Music Polska, 2017)
Kroke 25, The Best Of (Universal Music Polska, 2018)

web site kroke.com.pl

Share