Tuesday 3 January 2017, 7.30pm

Photo by Andrew Cronshaw

East Warsaw Ensemble

No Longer Available

A evening of traditional folk songs from Ukraine, Poland and Russia.

This evening will feature some of the most original music from Polish, Ukrainian and Russian traditions: archaic scales, harvest chants, old carols, polyphonic lyrical songs, as well as instrumental music and dance.

The musical journey of the members of the East Warsaw Ensemble started in 1999, when they first met, fascinated by ancient Ukrainian traditions. They started visiting villages in – musically - one of the most archaic regions of Europe – Ukrainian Polissya. There they found first inspirations and talented singers, who gave them their songs encouraging them to sing together. The evening at Café Oto will start with a fragment of a documentary “The songs I seek” about the people they met there and about their wonderful music.

The program of the evening will contain some Polish folk songs, as well as instrumental music from Kujawy and Mazowsze regions. In the 19th century this music would have been the main inspiration for young composer Frederyk Chopin, but here it will be presented in its most traditional form, that resembles jazz or improvised music rather than composed pieces.

There will be also Russian traditional songs that had such a positive response in the last concert of the group, in January 2016. The variety of musical styles that the group explores, is united by traditional way of singing – with an open, unconstrained voice, full of energy and focus.

Some of these songs were reconstructed from Polish, Ukrainian and Russian archives, some of them – like the ones from Polissya or Podseredneye in southern Russia - learnt from local singers during field expeditions: “The most valuable aspect of our work is the direct contact with the village musician, who opened his or her world to us and invited us in; singing together, learning the song, absorbing it in its context - music is then transmitted naturally and has a chance of surviving”.
Fragments of a documentary “The songs I seek”, directed by Jagna Knittel.

Members of the group: Justyna Piernik, Joanna Górska, Ewa Grochowska, Anna Jakowska, Jagna Knittel, Monika Walenko-Ili-Tsang, Taras Shumeyko, Cezary Szymański.

East Warsaw Ensemble

EAST WARSAW ensemble has been singing folk music together since 1999, when the members of the group first met, united by their fascination for the ancient Ukrainian traditions. They have been learning various singing styles from the lecturers and pedagogues from Moscow Gnesini Akademy and Tchaykovsky Music Conservatory, including the members of Ukraininan group Drevo.

EAST WARSAW ensemble has organised and taken part in various cultural projects in Poland and Ukraine; in 2014 its new album was released, containing unique Russian field recordings and East Warsaw studio session. Recently the group participated in big concerts with Polish repertoire (concert in the Royal Castle in Warsaw at Mazurkas of the World festival, as well as in the Warsaw Ethnographic Museum). Moreover East Warsaw ensemble had many times performed in Poland (including festivals: Crossroads Festival in Krakow, Mazurkas of the World in Warsaw, Songs of our Roots in Jarosław, The Oldest Songs of Europe festival in Lublin), and abroad (in Kiev, Rivne, Moscow, Petersburg, Paris, Odense in Denmark, and London).