The East Warsaw Ensemble started in 1999, when the group first met and shared a mutual fascination of ancient Ukrainian traditions. They started visiting villages in what is musically one of the most archaic regions of Europe – Ukrainian Polissya. Together they found first inspirations and talented singers who lent the group their songs and encouraged the Ensemble to sing them together.
Back in January 2016, the Ensemble visited OTO and treated us to some Polish and Russian folk songs and instrumental music from the Kujawy and Mazowsze regions. In the 19th century this music would have been the main inspiration for the young composer Frederyk Chopin, but the group presented in its most traditional form - one which resembles jazz or improvised music rather than composed pieces. The group is united by their traditional way of singing – with an open, unconstrained voice which is full of energy and focus.
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Justyna Piernik / vocals
Joanna Górska / vocals
Ewa Grochowska / vocals
Anna Jakowska / vocals
Jagna Knittel / vocals
Monika Walenko-Ili-Tsang / vocals
Taras Shumeyko / vocals
Cezary Szymański / vocals
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Sunday 10th January, 2016 by Shaun Crook. Mixed by James Dunn. With thanks to Monika Walenko-Ili-Tsang.