Engaging Recreations of the Traditional Music of Western Mazovia and Kuyavia

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Kapela Niwińskich – Pogłosy (Kapela Niwińskich, 2023)

The album Pogłosy (Reverberations) has a strong focus on the traditional music of Western Mazovia and Kujawi in Central Poland. The founder of Kapela Niwińskich, Mateusz Niwiński, having spent years playing mazurkas and obereks, felt compelled to explore something new. After discovering and listening to archival recordings from Western Mazovia, he was bursting with joy. These were recordings of violinists and singers from the Sanniki, Łowicz, and Kujawy regions, born during the turn of the 20th century.

The local violin music and singing in this region are renowned for their finesse. The melodies are incredibly intricate, often featuring irregular phrases, and are played and sung with emotion and imagination. The intersection of Łowicki, Sannicki, and Kujawy is a veritable treasure trove of unique music, a land where various styles and varieties of kujawiaks are played and sung, many of which are songs.

Pogłosy features a diverse range of genres, including lyrical, wedding, dance, chants, and lively instrumental music, mainly Kujawiak and Mazovian obereks, played by a band composed of a violin, clarinet, double bass, and baraban.

For Mateusz Niwiński, the inspiration to work on this repertoire was sparked by meeting Justyna Piernik, a singer and researcher of Kujavian musical traditions, as well as Jacek and Kuba Mielcarek, experienced musicians with extensive experience ranging from traditional music to jazz. Together, they decided to reinterpret these melodies using a different musical language, guided not by the need for a faithful reproduction, but rather by their own feelings, as freshness and honesty are essential in music.

Mateusz Niwiński says about the project: “It is a journey into time, reviving the sound and musical pulse of the old world of rural musicality, it is also a meeting with the music of our masters. We reached for the forgotten repertoires of singers and violinists born at the beginning of the 20th century (e.g. Zofia Wojnicka from Osięcin, Janina Smagała from Czermno, Waleria Czubak from Błędów, Józef Ciastek from Czermno, Piotr Figurski from Sanniki, Tomasz Latoszewski from Chąśno) to play them again in new arrangements and contexts, tell in your own musical language. We recorded in November 2022 in the S4 studio of Polish Radio.”

Musicians: Mateusz Niwiński on violin, vocals; Agnieszka Niwińska on hoop drum, baraban; Justyna Piernik on vocals; Jacek Mielcarek on clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone; and Kuba Mielcarek on basset, double bass.

Author: Claudia Taylor


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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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