Halina has already appeared here on a 2014 post about multiple female artists, but today she deserves a full entry, another Pole legend to grace us with all her talent!
Let’s go to our artist:
Halina Maria Frąckowiak (born April 10, 1947, in Poznań) is a Polish pop/rock singer, composer, and songwriter. She debuted in 1963 at the Young Talents Festival in Szczecin, where she competed with future polish legends such as Czesław Niemen, Zdzisława Sośnicka and Krzysztof Klenczon, and became the winner of the so-called “Golden Ten”.
Then she won further awards at song festivals in Opole and in Kołobrzeg in the years 1969, 1976, 1977, 1988, 1991 and 1993 (!). Working with such bands as Czerwono-Czarni, ABC Group, Tarpany, they launched a plethora of hits throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s.
In 1972 Halina outset in a solo career, it was then that she won the plebiscite for the most popular singer, several times took part in foreign festivals (Ostend, Rostock, Dresden), where she received the most important awards, including “Golden Microphone” of the Polish-American Artistic Agency. Halina has recorded over 20 discs and cassettes, and her concerts have been seen in many places in Europe as well as in the US and Canada. She performed, at the Musical Theater in Gdynia, the Grand Theater in Łódź and Warsaw.
The album Ogród Luizy (Luisa’s Garden) from 1981 was created as a result of Halina Frąckowiak’s fascination with the poetry of Kazimierz Wierzyński, this is the effect of the gradual change of the singer’s repertoire to a more serious and lyrical one conception since its debut with the renowned Idę in 1974. The last decade only saw re-releases of her past records and many live presentations until today, its last record is from 2006.
Let’s go to our album:
Let us present you Halina’s second (and better) entry, a fantastic collaboration between the singer and the almighty prog-trio SBB, here in a way that some fans might not know:
“The three musicians that revolutionized Polish rock” or “Beyond doubt the most prominent representatives of progressive rock in Poland” with these credentials it’s easy to drool out with this magnificent record. The trio changed their groove in some nice ways for the album, mostly known for their long-form, fusion-styled jams, here, they compact that energy into shorter, tighter songs that often have a funky rock style or ambient jazz-pop that draws equally from the vocals in the lead, and from the keyboards of Jozef Skrzek!
Believe me, you don’t want to miss this one…
The ‘IM’ highlights are Wzejdę Polnym Makiem and Śnij Tylko Szczęście.
A1 Jesteś Spóźnionym Deszczem A2 Myśli Twoje Śnić Zaczynam A3 Wzejdę Polnym Makiem A4 Otwieram List – Brązowy Wrzesień A5 W Powszednie Dni B1 Śnij Tylko Szczęście B2 Pieśń Geiry B3 Chcę Być Dla Ciebie B4 Brzegi Łagodne
Featuring: Zespół SBB
Backing Vocals: Alibabki
Lyrics By: J. Matej
Music By: J. Skrzek
Design – Rafał Jasionowicz
Engineer: J. Złotkowski, M. Gola
Photography By: Marek Karewicz
Record Company: Polskie Nagrania
Printed By: Łódzka Drukarnia Akcydensowa
Today’s artist does not have an extensive musical career, but as it always here on the ‘IM’ it is worth checking it out! Due to political problems at the height of its popularity she was forced to leave Poland only to return after 7 years, close to the fall of the USSR. Also a talented actress Izabela remains today as an active performer, with a 2016 latest release.
Let’s go to our artist:
Izabela Ludwika Trojanowska (born Izabela Ludwika Schütz; 22 April 1955) is a Polish singer and film actress, she first appeared in a short-running 1979 TV series Strachy and subsequently played the title role in the feature film Carmilla. She rose to fame in 1980 with the hits “Tyle Samo Prawd Ile Kłamstw” and “Wszystko Czego Dziś Chcę”, the latter performed to a big success at the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole, accompanied by the legendary Polish rock band Budka Suflera. In a meteoric rise up Trojanowska became one of the most popular singers of the early 1980s in Poland.
At the very beginning of this decade, Izabela established trends in music. As an artist, she traveled the world, watching her peers live abroad. In the stores, on the shelves, however, there were only vinegar, and potatoes with kefir given to eat. She wanted to sing about what was bad in the country, what really hurt Poles. Soon, she became the enemy number one for power and a hero for society. With an androgynous look, backed up by an astounding band and acid lyricists Izabela started her upswing with Romuald Lipko, Budka Suflera’s leader. He composed eight tracks for her debut album, simply entitled Iza and released in 1981. The record was ordered in a record circulation of nearly one million copies, however, due to technical reasons, only 50,000 were sold on the market copies and a cassette tape. However, the singles promoting her spread over 300,000 copies (!!)
The same year Trojanowska teamed up with another rock band, Stalowy Bagaż, with whom she recorded an EP and performed at the Opole Festival. Their performance drew controversies as she was wearing a red tie on stage, typical for the outfit of the members of Union of Polish Youth (ZMP). The organization accused her of desecrating the symbol of the Union as its performance of ‘Song of the Brick’ caused that Solidarity also turned away from her. After the scandal broke out she began being persecuted by the authorities.
By early 1982, Izabela finished recording her second LP, Układy. The album showcased a rockier sound and spawned hits “Brylanty” and “Karmazynowa Noc” with more than 100.000 copies sold. Later that year, she paired with Tadeusz Nalepa for the album Pożegnalny Cyrk (released commercially in 1993), whose politically charged lyrics strongly criticized martial law in Poland. That record was withdrawn by the censorship office. Burned by Solidarity, persecuted by the authorities she emigrated in 1983.
In the following decades, Izabela only released 5 records being Na Skos the latter and also it’s best, placing the good old rock n roll ahead of more Pop-English oriented songs.
Izabela stated: ‘At the beginning of the crazy and wonderful eighties together with Romuald Lipko and Andrzej Mogielnicki we were able to prepare a repertoire that electrified people. Then there was a lot of electricity in the air… Then came the next records … I am always happy to come back to singing, even after a long break. I take it as seriously as I do acting, maybe even more frightened… One thing I know: I would never want someone to say that I am the best singer among actresses and the best actress among singers.’
Let’s go to our album:
Everyone seems to forget this second album always recurring to the first one ‘Iza‘ to talk about her but here in the IM we go deeper! This one is a fav of mine, with a strong post-punk and synth-pop feelings, showcasing how things were more liberal in countries such as Poland and Yugoslavia, at least in musical terms as we know it. Chodź Usłysz!
The ‘IM’ highlights are Obejdzie Się Bez Łez and Nic Naprawdę
Backing Vocals: Bogdan Gajkowski / Guitar: Aleksander Mrożek
A2 Obejdzie Się Bez Łez
Backing Vocals: Jan Borysewicz
A3 Mało Siebie Znam
B1 Karmazynowa Noc
B2 Daj Boże Daj
Backing Vocals: Bogdan Gajkowski
B3 Nic Naprawdę
B4 Obce Dni
Guitar: Aleksander Mrożek
Guitar: Aleksander Mrożek
Bass: Wojciech Bruślik
Drums: Andrzej Dylewski
Guitar, Guitar (Solo): Jan Borysewicz
Keyboards: Janusz Grzywacz
Lyrics By: A. Mogielnicki
Music By: A. Mrożek (tracks: A1, B4), B. Gajkowski (tracks: A4, B3), J. Borysewicz (tracks: A2), W. Bruślik (tracks: B2), W. Trzciński (tracks: A3, B1)
Arranged By: A. Mrożek (tracks: A1, B4, B5), B. Gajkowski (tracks: A4, B3), J. Borysewicz (tracks: A2, A3, B1, B2), W. Bruślik (tracks: B2)
Engineer: J. Mastykarz
Engineer (Assistant): W. Żywioł
Recorded at Studio Nagrań ZPR Teatru STU, Kraków 1982. Tonpress – SX-T 12
After threeMixtapes last year, I was already missing a new one, and you? Whenever we try to do it, we try to leave a distinct mark either in the choice of artists or the era approached, well, this time we’ll leave the extensive biographies and contexts aside, these artists should appear soon in our galaxy, along with their full contents.
So, let’s get right to it: our dámské and its songs.
Halina Frąckowiak & SBB – W Powszednie Dni / Geira (1977) / Polskie N. Muza
Kati Kovács & Juventus – Add Már Uram Az Esöt! / Single (1972) / Pepita
Kati Kovács & Locomotiv GT – Szólj Rám, Ha Hangosan Énekelek / Kovacs, Kati (1974) / Pepita
BornKovács Katalin, October 25, 1944, Verpelét, Hungary. Singer, Actress, Lyricist, Songwriter. Probably the most famous singer of Hungary, with dozens of recorded albums, awards, and presentations indoor/abroad, international recognition and a very active career until today. Hungarian musical critics have praised her raspy and strong voice, calling her ‘The Voice of Hungary’!
Born November 1, 1942, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. Singer, Actress and TV Presenter. She was the most popular female pop singer in Czechoslovakia in the late ’60s. In 1967 she won Zlatý Slavík award (Golden Nightingale). Her song ‘Prayer for Marta’ became a symbol of national resistance against the occupation of Warsaw Pact troops in 1968. During the Prague Spring, she recorded over 200 (?!!) single records and one LP, Songy a Balady in 1969, which was immediately banned from stores. In 1970, the government falsely accused her of making pornographic photographs leading to a ban from performing in the country until 1989. (!)
aka Charlotte Sachert, December 14, 1947, Budapest, Hungary. Famous controversial Singer, Actress, Writer, already known from previous posts here in ‘IM’, check out our exclusive. Known as the Hungarian Janis Joplin!
We have an interesting study about the Rock development in the Eastern Bloc, from our homonyms friends which eventually will form the basis for other posts.
Happy 2014 to all our friends, I was away for a few days but we’ll resume gradually the number of posts, January is always a little slower, isn’t it? Today’s artist is a small (late) tribute to our Polish friends, nothing less than one of the biggest visitors of our page!
The culture of Poland is closely connected with its intricate thousand-year history. With origins in the culture of the Early Slavs, over time Polish culture has been profoundly influenced by its interweaving ties with the Germanic, Latinate and Byzantine worlds as well as in continual dialog with the many other ethnic groups. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Polish focus on cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic activity, these factors have contributed to the versatile nature of Polish art. Nowadays, Poland is a highly developed country, however, it retains its tradition.
Poland still suffers from a bad image in a way that people who are not from there see the country as the pool where your local painter, farm-help or building constructor comes from (sic). And those people lack the sophistication we, of course, had in our years after WWII, Right? Wrong!! (XO)
Let’s go to our history:
In fact, Poland has a long history of being one of the most cultural evolved countries in Europe. With an empire that once stretched from the East Sea to the Black Sea with an elective monarchy in the 16th century (probably the first of the western world). Thanks to Nicolaus Copernicus we finally found the scientific proof that the world was round! Musically Poland shows influences from composers like Chopin and folk music like the Mazurka, Bohemian Polka and Polonaise.
Not to mention in its world-famous writers and filmmakers like Adam Mickiewicz and Stanisław Lem; or legendaryAndrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieślowski.
Poland should be famous for its jazz scene during the communist regime and has an interesting pop and rock scene evolving in the 70s and 80s, with artists and acts like: Czesław Niemen, Novi Singers, Niebiesko-Czarni, Halina Frąckowiak, Big Band Katowice, SBB, Breakout, Marek Grechuta, and Stan Borys.
But let us return a little bit, to understand the darkest period of the country.
Started on the night of 1 September 1939, when Wehrmacht wore on their battle lines, Polish forces were the first to face the Germanwar machine, unfortunately, defeated in just over a month. Even with the 4th largest army, without the presence of the allies, any country would ever accomplish the deadly feat. The Soviets advanced on 17 September as agreed in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (split into two zones).
The Poles were the people most affected by WWII. There too the war ended in 1945, but the end of the conflict did not mean the liberation of the country. In 1945, Poland was a country dismantled, its western border had been pushed 500 kilometers to the west (!), in accordance with agreements made in November 1943 by Soviet Joseph Stalin with the then British Prime MinisterWinston Churchill and U.S. PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt in Tehran. Millions of Poles living in the east were transferred to territories formerly under German rule. Warsaw was uninhabited and in ruins.
Six million Poles died in the conflict, of which more than 95% were civilians. (!!)
Czeslaw Milosz (writer and Nobel laureate) would recall: ‘For six years, Poland seemed a mechanized slaughterhouse, whose treadmill constantly carried the corpses of murdered human beings’ (!)
Intellectual, religious and noble were transported by the thousands to concentration camps or executed immediately. The goal was Germanizing Polish territories and transform the population into slave labor.
The main concentration camps were located in occupied Poland: Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Chelmno, and Maidanek. Only 10% of the 3.3 million Polish Jews managed to save themselves. The Polish resistance decided on two fronts: against the Germans a military struggle, against the Soviet Union, a policy.
In 1944, when the Red Army began to approach the east of the country, the Poles wanted to present them as masters of their own place. Planned so that, a few hours before the arrival of the Soviets, Warsaw take up arms to expel the Germans. The 1st of August 1944, the Polish resistance began fighting against the Nazis but was left in the hand by the Soviets, because Stalin refused to help. Soviet troops had been halted by Moscow across the banks of the Vistula River – at the gates of Warsaw – and watched 63 days of bitter fighting, with a balance of 200.000 Poles killed. (!)
The Germans dominated the uprising and drove the survivors out of the city that was completely ruined. Hitler even ordered the implosion of what was left standing, consecrating Warsaw as the most destroyed capital in WWII.
The Resistance was cruelly fought by Nazi occupiers, for each dead German, hundred Polish hostages were executed. Until today, the Warsaw uprising isn’t just a national trauma, but also a double symbol of resistance – against the Nazi terror and against Soviet oppression. Every year, the 1st of August, thousands of residents of the capital gather to pay tribute for the uprising.
1945 was the year of liberation from the German terror. The 60th anniversary of this date is remembered by Poles accordingly. But nobody forgets that Poland wasn’t free after the War. The communist regime installed by Moscow only made the Nazi terror be replaced by the Stalinist (sic).
The development of WWII, its battles and countless other situations will be addressed in future posts, this is just a small summary to contextualize, ok?!
Let’s go to our music:
With the coming of the world wars and then the Communist state, folk traditions were oppressed or subsumed into state-approved folk ensembles. The most famous state ensembles were Mazowsze and Śląsk. Though these bands had a regional touch to their output, the overall sound was a homogenized mixture of Polish styles. The whole field seems unhip to young audiences, and many traditions dwindled rapidly.
The entrance of Jazz music, much more appealing to the young audiences, shook up the Soviet structures, in the 50s. Changing once and for all the Polish soundscape.
Before WWII, bands playing in restaurants and bars of Warsaw, Krakow or Poznan already had jazz elements in their repertoire. After the war, the initial period of fascination by youngsters with jazz music was quickly suppressed by communist authorities. The Catacomb Periodtried to ban the genre, jazz was played unofficially as a piece of underground music, but two events helped to change that.
First, Stalin died in 1953 which brought a political change that brought freedom also in the field of art. Second, jazz pianist Dave Brubeck visited Poland which had an enormous impact, it was the beginning of the development of an authentic jazz movement and the start of Polish pop music.
During the 50s and 60s, Polish musicians reached for records of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, of hard-bop quintets as well as for the records of bands led by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. The main promoters of modern jazz during the 50s were Andrzej Trzaskowski, Jerzy Milian, Andrzej Kurylewicz, among others.
Polish popular music in the 60s was relatively tame compared to its Western contemporaries, mostly because the Communist government was rather skeptical about rock’n’rolland tried to limit its cultural influence on the young generation. In fact, to avoid trouble from the association, a new term was coined – big beat and its Polish-language equivalent, Mocne Uderzenie. The big beat performers were mostly imitating British stars of the time, sometimes adding elements of Polish folk music.
The 60s also brought Poland one of its most original artists, Czesław Niemen. He started out performing Latin and big beat songs, but soon transformed into a superstar when his protest song Dziwny Jest Ten Swiat (Strange Is This World) was applauded to no end at 1967 Opole Festival. The key to his success was not only an extraordinary voice and image but also very expressive, soul repertoire and poetic lyrics.
At the end of the decade, big beat finally gave way to more evolved rock genres, which would dominate the Polish scene in the following years: blues, soul, prog, disco, etc. The complete unfolding of the 70s will be studied at a later time, after this overview (phew!), let us return to today’s artist, shall we?!
Let’s go to our album:
Henry Debich (18 January 1921 – 4 July 2001) born and buried at Pabianice, was a Polish conductor, composer, arranger, and educator. Born in a family of musicians, his father, Bernard Debich, was a bandmaster from the factory’s orchestra. Before the war, he had private lessons on piano, trumpet, and trombone. He graduated in Theory, Composition and Conducting at Lodz Academy of Music.
During WWII, he was arrested on May 16, 1940, as part of a large share of the Lodz Gestapo, being placed in a camp in Radogoszcz, and then in Dachau. After the war, he took a job teaching in Pabianicka music school and began working with the Polish Radio. At the same time, he continued his studies at the Conservatory H. Kijeńska-Dobkiewiczowej, and studied music theory and conducting.
Debich was co-founder and since 1952 the conductor and artistic director, of The Entertainment Orchestra of Polish Radio and Television in Lodz. Being a multi-annual music director, conductor and juror at festivals in Opole, Sopot, Kolobrzeg and Zielona Gora. He was the second conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra (1956-1958), and together with its ensembles, recorded music for over 20 films and released more than 50 Lp’s throughout its brilliant career!
As a conductor and arranger, the maestro worked with orchestras in Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Netherlands, Cuba, East Germany, Portugal, USSR and so on. He also collaborated with opera and Musical Theatre in Lodz.
Finally, some Polish jazz and funk to roll you upside down! It took a while for us to enter in Poland, this String Beat is almost a sum of every genre that was happening in a strong instrumental act: rock, soul, funk, fusion, soundtrack music, with lots of woodwinds and reeds. It is always good to see the intersection between classical and popular music, with some (dope and mellow) Western covers included.
The ‘IM’ highlights are Bez Metalu, straight from some Blaxploitation movie, this insane groove will leave your jaw open with every single aspect, the arrangement here is some real deal, get ready. And Kameleon, Hancock’s famous song, got a classy drapery here, with swinging guitars, flute/sax solos, and light synths. Frightful!
O Dara Irin Ajo!
A1 Na Opak (Z. Karwacki, J. Delong)
A2 Bez Metalu (M. Racewicz)
A3 Gry Flute (A. Żylis) – [Solos, J. Delong & Z. Karwacki]
A4 Oscypka (Z. Karwacki) – [Solos, A. Szczepański & K. Osiński]
A5 Standard In B (J. Malinowski) – [Solos, J. Delong & Z. Karwacki]
B1 Melodia Z Filmu “Shaft” (I. Hayes / M. Hoffmann)
B2 Opadający Widnokrąg (A. Żylis)
B3 Kameleon (H. Hancock) – [Solos, J. Malinowski &J. Olejniczak]
B4 Obladi – Oblada (J. Lennon, McCartney / M. Hoffmann)