The World Music Expo, WOMEX opened last night, October 25, 2017 in Katowice, Silesia, Poland. The official WOMEX Opening Concert was dedicated this year to the roots and branches of Polish folk music’s past, present and future.
Three of the region’s cutting-edge folk music ensembles collaborated on their own compositions with the Aukso Chamber Orchestra, as they became the first Western art orchestra to grace the WOMEX stage.
The artists that performed were:
Aukso Chamber Orchestra conducted by Marek Mos
The WOMEX 17 Opening was supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
Renowned Polish musicians and composer Maria Pomianowska and Reborn will be performing in the American Midwest in September and October 2017, including stops at Bloomington, Indiana’s Lotus Festival and Minneapolis’s popular Cedar Theater.
Maria Pomianowska’s music combines European classical music, new music and the folk music traditions of Poland. She has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, studying the Sarangi in India under the guidance of P. Ram Narayan, teaching violin to members of the Japanese Imperial family and founding the first Ethnic Music Department at the Academy of Music in Krakow. But her greatest achievement could be the resurrection of some of her homeland’s lost medieval stringed instruments.
9/16: Landfall Festival of World Music, Cedar Rapids, IA
9/19: University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, WI
9/30: Lotus Festival, Bloomington, IN
10/1: Lotus Festival, Bloomington, IN
10/6: The Cedar, Minneapolis, MN
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.
World Music Expo WOMEX has announced the first set of artists scheduled to perform at the 2017 conference. WOMEX 2017 will take place October 25 – 29 in Katowice, Poland.
The 18 artists revealed represent 23 different countries. They are scheduled to perform in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 concert promoters, festival programmers, booking agents, international media and other professional delegates as well as the Polish music public.
Alireza Ghorbani (Iran)
Black Flower (Belgium)
Dakh Daughters (Ukraine)
Dimitris Mystakidis (Greece)
Elkin Robinson (Colombia)
Gato Preto (Mozambique/Ghana/ Senegal/Germany)
Ifriqiyya Electrique (Tunisia/France)
La Dame Blanche (Cuba/France)
Leyla McCalla (Haiti/USA)
Park Jiha (South Korea)
Vasilis Kostas & Layth Sidiq Duo (Greece/Jordan/USA) Waldemar Bastos (Angola/Portugal)
headline photo: Elkin Robinson – Photo by Fela Photography
This compilations contains material by European Czech duo Tara Fuki collected from earlier albums except for one previously unreleased song. The group’s sound is difficult to categorize. It’s characterized by the remarkable sound of two cellos and vocals where you’ll find elements of classical chamber music, jazz and Eastern European folk music.
The Tara Fuki is lineup includes classically-trained cellists and vocalists Andrea Konstankiewicz (Poland) and Dorota Barova (Czech Republic).
The Best of Tara Fuki showcases the talent of two skilled musicians and songwriters who delight the listener with the mesmerizing sound of the cello and voice.
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.
On July 11, 2017, the Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling will be appearing at Opera Krakowska [the Krakow Opera].
Branford Marsalis has already appeared many times at the Summer Festival in Krakow. The program announced this week by the Cracovia Music Agency combines the famous saxophonist’s quartet with one of the best jazz vocalists on the global music scene today: Kurt Elling. In Krakow, we’re preparing ourselves for revelations, along with top-shelf entertainment.
The Branford Marsalis Quartet consists of experienced musicians with strong personalities, all of whom enjoy undisputed status on the jazz scene, with each adding a distinctive color to the music. Joey Calderazzo, Eric Revis, and Justin Faulkner will grace the Krakow Opera stage.
The appearance of these musicians with Kurt Elling will surely be based on experience drawn from their collaborative disc Upward Spiral, released by Okeh Records in June 2016. Accordingly, we can anticipate full concord on the stage, inspiring musical dialogs, and beautiful free improvisation. On stage, Kurt Elling is not simply one additional voice, but a new space for sounds and phrases which will expand our thinking about and experience of jazz.
On his website, Branford Marsalis reveals his concept of jazz, also expressed on Upward Spiral, writing: “My philosophy of jazz is that it should be about strong melodies and a great beat, and every song here has a melody that you can hold in your mind, that you can sing. This is not jazz as a personal think tank, where people are only concerned with impressing everyone already inside of the tank with deconstruction and reharmonization. This is the kind of music that should expand our base to include people who would like jazz if it were friendlier.”
The concert will take place as part of the 22nd Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami [Cellar under the Rams]. The Festival was organized for the first time in 1996, and thus is already more than twenty years old. Since 2000, the Festival has been held outdoors so as to reach many more jazz lovers. We invite you to New Orleans Sunday and Noc Jazzu [Night of Jazz], both outdoor events.
The Summer Jazz Festival in Krakow will host the cream of Polish popular music as well as many stars from abroad (including Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Jean-Luc Ponty, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Maria Schneider, Richard Bona, Candy Dulfer, Greg Osby, and Nigel Kennedy).
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
Now you can plan summertime musical adventures in Poland! The year 2017 abounds in world-class stars appearing at an ever-growing number of fantastic jazz music festivals. The Młyn Jazz Festiwal Wadowice (Wadowice Mill Jazz Festival) certainly stands out, thanks to the project’s momentum, atmosphere, and ambitious top-flight jazz. The festival runs from July 7-9 July, 2017.
On the first day the organizers invite you to an appearance by Herbie Hancock with a band composed of Vinnie Colaiuta, James Genus, Lionel Loueke, and Terrace Martin. The eminent American pianist and composer and jazz guru (as Leszek Możdżer once dubbed him) has appeared many times on Polish musical stages, giving a display of virtuosity, improvisation, and hot sounds.
Through Herbie Hancock’s music we can understand the words of the artist himself, writing in his autobiography: “Jazz consists of life at a given moment. It is about trusting yourself and reacting quickly to what’s happening. If you let it happen, a door opens up before you, a door to a never-ending exploration of music and life.” Jazz lovers in Poland are eagerly awaiting this performance.
Following Herbie Hancock’s show, the good times will continue to roll, thanks to Marta Król and the Paweł Tomaszewski Group, whose concert is scheduled for the same outdoor stage in the evening.
The next day of the festival begins with Polish jazz. Performing first are Stanisław Soyka and the Wojciech Karolak Trio; later, we’ll hear the sensational voice of American jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves. Certainly we can expect not only her hits, but also material from Beautiful Life, winner of the 2015 Grammy award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. For more information, see: diannereeves.com.
On the third day of the Wadowice Mill Jazz Festival, Maria Sadowska will perform material from her 2014 album Jazz na ulicach [Jazz in the streets]. As her reviewers and fans have written, with this record Sadowska captivates her listeners with her musicianship, lyrics, energy, and combination of contrasts.
The finale of the festival promises to feature the styles of fusion, funk, and acid jazz. Appearing on the stage will be the Brand New Heavies, an English combo formed in 1985 in London (see more at: www.thebrandnewheavies.net). We expect, therefore, that this final night of the festival will be really hot, as well as being a potential dance event (if the auditorium permits)!
We encourage you to take a look at the Festival website, since the list of artists is not yet set in stone; what’s more, the organizers are masters of the art of surprise.
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion