Polska Rootz – Bandinfo


01.Studio As One vs. Orkiestra Swietego Mikolaja – Kolomyjka Jarocinska Remix

The St. Nicholas Orchestra is a seven-piece folk ensemble from Lublin. They use accoustic instruments only and are one of the most popular modern folk bands in Poland. But here you get an exclusive electrified remix by Warsaw’s Studio As One. The remixers’ and producers’ team was set up in 2006 by Jarek ‘Smok’ Smak and Mariusz ‘Activator’ Dziurawiec, two of the most active figures in Poland’s alternative music scene. Smok was a member of the fantastic punk band Post Regiment as well as of the Falarek Band. Activator payed the bass in reggae band Stage of Unity and last but not least is the dub master of the Joint Venture Sound System from Zgorzelec – forefathers of the sound system culture in Poland. He is still touring with JVSS these days, but he is also sound engineer for the Warsaw Village Band and the re-animated reggae legend Izrael. But most of all he is to be found behind the desks in his own studio where he together with Smok sends everything from reggae to hardcore punk through the effect chambers.





02. Psio Krew – Hajduk

This is one of the hits on Psio Crew’s debut Szumi Jawor Soundsystem. Goral folk meets drum’n’bass and dancehall. The mountain hut in the Tatra meets the Carribian urban club underground. Psio Crew (which means dog’s blood in Polish and is frequently used as a swear expression like ‘damn’) is a young big band from Bielsko Biała in the Beskids with a strong local roots consciousness which they throw on the dancefloor. They have reggae as well as hip hop, jungle or R’n’B on their recipe. On stage they are one girl and loads of boys in their traditional outfits – mountain b-boys, whistling while doing breakdance, singing in their own dialect while throwing axes…




03. Zakopower – Kiebyś Ty

Zakopower represent a vital and rousing, but at the same time elegant, ornamental and polished version of Tatra music. They sound somewhere in between a stylish bar and a rancid village pub – I guess, in both places it’s fun, especially when you add a bit of mountain romanticism. Their two albums have been published on Kayax, the label of charismatic pop singer Kayah.




04. Vavamuffin – Sekta (RMX by Perch)

Vavamuffin is probably the most famous dancehall reggae band in Poland and is especially loved for their energetic live shows. Here they get the remix treatment from the one and only Neil Perch, the man behind UK dub giants Zion Train and the label Universal Egg, which both are very popular in Poland and have left their marks in Poland’s dub soundscape.  The three main vocalists of Vavamuffin thrill with their fast-singing and rapping skills in English and Polish. These three dee-jays – Don Gorgone, Pablopavo and Reggaenerator – as well as the members of the powerful riddim section behind them also work as solo artists and in different projects. They boast a certain restlessness as well as a contagious energy which they spread from the stage. This makes Vavamuffin a unique band between modern roots sound, ragga attacks and good old dancehall stylee.




05. Warsaw Village Band – Matthew (Horn Lane Skank)

This is a Transglobal Underground remix of a track by the Warsaw Village Band. WVB can easily be called the international spearhead on Polska Rootz. Since the beginning of the century they have been constantly raising the bar with their compact trance-driven mix of folk elements and modern sounds. The Warsaw Village Band has been remixed by internationally renown names like Zion Train and Vibronics from the UK as well as DJ Click from France and the best of Polish remixers, as we will hear later on this compilation. The music of the winner of the BBC Radio 3 World Music Award Kapela Ze Wsi Warszawa as their Polish name goes, works perfectly well with a dub/reggae makeover. 




06. Lao Che – Hiszpan

As a crossover band Lao Che is swinging between styles – alternative rock, hip hop leftovers and punk  – but they also come up with a combination like Hizpan where ska and folk fall in an overboiling melting pot topped by a clarinet that spreads strong Klezmer flavour. The band became famous with its multi-award-winning concept album Powstanie Warszawskie which was dedicated to the Warsaw uprising against German occupying forces in 1944. In a quite affirmative way it deals with patriotic self-conception and national-cultural symbols of the Polish history. This song is from their current album Gospel which is dedicated to the subject religion.




07. Strachy Na Lachy – Przedszkole

Strachy Na Lachy is basically the successor of Pidzama Porno, a Polish cult punk band. Here they mix a light Polish tango with punky rough reggae in order to interpret a melancholic Slavic song by songwriter Jacek Kaczmarski, who died in 2004. This song is taken from the tribute album to Kaczmarski, who like no other shaped with his songs the generation Solidarność.




08. Twinkle Brothers feat. Trebunie Tutki – Pierso Godzina/Don´t Betray My Love

These are the roots of the new roots movement. The Twinkle Brothers is a militant roots band that has been active since the Seventies and moved from Kingston/Jamaica to London/UK in the Eighties, from where they tied up various connections to Poland. After first working with Polish jazz musicians, they cooperated with the Goral musicians’ family Trebunie Tutki for the first time in 1992. This was a clash of roots cultures which caused furore and attracted many successors. Here they even get another genius dub makeover by Adrian Sherwood of On-U-Sound fame who played a crucial role in producing and mixing Twinkle Brothers feat. Trebunie Tutki and also contributed to other projects on the Kamahuk label of Wlodzimierz Klescz which significantly shaped something like a Polska Rootz scene.





09. Masala (Soundsystem)– XXI.Wiek

Masala mixes world music roots sounds from Arabia to Pakistan with electronics, dub, dancehall or drum’n’bass. In this respect they are true vanguards in Poland; the more as they really play these world music sounds live by hand or stage proper Indian dance shows to go with the performance. Their political awareness and relation to music and culture circles that demand such an awareness shows especially in this track: XXI.Wiek is a song by legendary hardcore band Dezerter, the critical-apocalyptic text of which is sung here with much passion by the singers of the Warsaw Village Band. A cooperation which was later extended in the project Village Kollektiv.




10. Mesajah – Moc słowa

Mesajah is one of three vocalists of the Natural Dread Killaz from Wrocław, one the most verbally talented artists of the Polish new school of reggae, whereas it is often only a small step from dancehall to hip hop. Moc słowa is maybe the most outstanding track on his debut album: fast-rolling word cascades, pointed pushs of energy cleverly garnished with well-placed balalaika samples, which makes the track fit into Polska Rootz.




11. Warsaw Village Band – Joint Venture Inna Village  (Activator Remix)

Kapela Ze Wsi Warszawa for the second time. Here they come riding through the global village in a dubby techno rhythm with indicated light trance edge. Once again this is a remix by Mario Activator, who is often adding his own dubplate flavour being it with the Joint Venture Sound System or on his own.





12. Meritum – Miszcz

Great mutant klezmer from this band of famous Warsaw street jazz and impro musicians who formed in 2001. Here they are joined by a versed turntablist who adds another scratch edge to this crazy Klezmer spiral. Positively meschugge – thus they fit perfectly onto the label LadoABC, where you can find odd bands like Mitch & Mitch or Baaba, which play alternative country, extravagant Easy Weirdo Listening, free as well as groovy jazz or vibrant electronica in a dadaistic but literate way.




13. Kosmofski – Taniec weselny

Ziemowit Zev Kosmowski was the singer of legendary  punk and new wave bands from Łodz like Brak or Rendez-Vous before he emigrated in the end of the Eighties. After he returned home in the early Nineties Kosmowski has since investigated the multi-cultural history of his home town Łodz, whose rise as a textile centre during Manchester capitalism in the 19th centuary was characterized by a tense but also close relationship between Poles, Jews and Russians, as can be seen in Andrzej Wajdas’s film The promised land. But Kosmowski can also be seen performing to wildly drunken punters and mixing all sorts of sound cliches.




14. Żywiołak – Świdryga i Midryga

Biometal, Hardfolk, Tribal Nu Rootz? Żywiołak turn the sound of the Warsaw Village Band, where Robert Jaworski, one of the two heads of Żywiołak – the other one is Robert Wasilewski – played in the early days of the band, quite a bit towards the hard edge with heavy rock moments and ancient folk as well as psychedelic trance elements. They are fans of club and dub sounds on one hand as well as fans of tribal drum pogo and headbanging on the other hand. Anyway: the energy level is right!




15. Habakuk – Mury

THE hymn of Solidarność, written by Jacek Kaczmarski and here interpreted as a reggae tune. A hybrid with a lot of connotations and a must for this compilation. We probably have to mention that this track was not onyl covered by Strachy Na Lachy, but also by Jean-Michel Jarre who turned it into a shockingly kitschy pathetic version in order to add some international pop flavour to the national myth. Habakuk are much closer to Kaczmarki’s energy and world of feelings with its Roots Rock Trans Reggae. The turn to reggae marks an extra symbolism in this context, as its anti Babylon idiology serves as a good alternative for the young (not only ex-) punks, who formed the reggae scene in the early Eighties, to all surrounding walls: the state system as well as the catholic dominating fathers.




16. Kayah – Nieznajoma

Kayah, whose pop career got an international rise through the 1999’s cooperation with Goran Bregovic and who has an untouchable superior status in Poland, is brought back to her roots here by the above introduced important producer of the Polska Reggae&Rootz scene Mario Djurex aka ‚Activator‘. She actually started her career singing in various reggae bands in the Eighties. Activator lets her ballad roll out to the horizon and eventually lets Kayah sail on a lightly gliding sound ark into a Far Eastern dub sun.