Be All Ears for Polish Music

For the Polish popular music scene, the last few years have been very good indeed. And it’s been a long time since it was so well received and at such a high level. Of course, the most popular radio stations are still playing famous Polish evergreens, strictly commercial pop, or even disco polo, which is noticeably gaining ground when it comes to air time. So if you want to find the more ambitious artists, you need to put in some effort. But the experience will definitely be worth it and will leave you wanting more.

Polish music has long since diversified, and is no longer limited to the simplistic sound popular with undemanding audiences at “town festivals” and “harvest festivals”. Proof of this is to be found among those Polish artists who actually take the stage at some of the biggest and best known Polish and European music festivals. For example, there is the duet The Dumplings, which has performed at the Colours of Ostrava Festival in the Czech Republic and at the Open’er Festival in Gdynia. The delicate electronic sounds of these noticeably young musicians are well received both in Poland and abroad. Their second album, “Sea you later”, has just come out, and all the venues on their tour are filled to the brim. If we’re talking electronic sound, we cannot forget the amazing band KAMP!, or last year’s successful debut of Rysy. Kamp! has been around since 2009, coming out with singles and EPs well enjoyed all around Europe. This year they have put out their second album, and if you are not quite sure what “advanced electronics” sounds like, you should definitely check out “Orneta”. Rysy debuted with an album called “Traveler”, and they really do take their listeners into completely new spheres of sound. The album also features a lot of guest appearances by some more amazing young musicians, which adds to its originality. Rysy are well on their way to achieving great popularity.

Another important young artist on the Polish music scene is Dawid Podsiadło. He’s one of the very few to actually make something of his (Polish) X-Factor success. Apart from his solo act, he also plays with a rock band called Curly Heads; they debuted in 2014 and took Poland by storm. This year Dawid himself has come out with his second album, which is a bit calmer in tone. How popular is he? Suffice it to say the concerts on the tour promoting this album are pretty much already sold out; in just two weeks all the tickets were gone. As far as softer sounds go, we should also note the artist who calls himself Patrick The Pan, and who put out what is widely considered one of the better albums of 2015, entitled “…niczym jak liśćmi” (…nothing but leaves). His thoughtful compositions are made complete with sensitive lyrics. There is something about this album that makes the music linger in your head long after you’ve listened to it. Also, the elite circle of Polish singer-songwriters has been joined this year by another new talent, Kortez. This ‘poet from the blocks’, as he has been called, put out his first album, “Bumerang”, in 2015, and it was an immediate hit. He seems to have come out of nowhere, but his single “Zostań” (Please stay) had a truly hypnotizing effect from the very first time it was played on “Trójka” – Polish Radio Three.

But let’s not end up talking only about the young generation; the old guard also has new things to be proud of. Zbigniew Wodecki and Mitch and Mitch did an amazing project together last year. The result was an album with a very intriguing title: “1976: Space Odyssey”. What’s going on there? A few years ago Mitch and Mitch discovered Wodecki’s debut album from 1976, and decided to record it again, freshening up the sounds. The outcome is truly amazing: those fabulous old songs (that had been forgotten by Wodecki himself) in new musical arrangement really take the audience back to the 70s! Live performances of this project are rare, but if you manage to catch one, you’ll definitely not be sorry for the trouble.
The musicians I have listed here actually constitute just a small percentage of the ones who are really worth paying attention to. As I’ve said, the music business in Poland is having a heyday right now. It’s happy news that there is plenty of media buzz not just around the most popular acts, but also around those lesser know, who in reality often have more to say. 2015 was a great year for Polish musicians, who are increasingly becoming great export material.

Paweł Wilk

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