Concerts are one of the rare ‚social’ occasions I am willing to attend, although I wouldn’t describe myself as a ‚fan’ of any particular band or artist. On the contrary, there is a vast range of genres that I enjoy and having the opportunity to hear my favourite songs or albums live spices up the musical experience, brings a bit of magic.
The event I attended yesterday was no exception and it reunited on stage (after 17 years!) Kayah, one of the most acclaimed and talented Polish song-writers, and an internationally known Bosnian/Serbian musician, Goran Bregović. Released in 1999, their joint album is – to quote Wikipedia – „a blend of pop and folk, in particular Balkan music, with elements of Romani music („Čaje šukarije”) and traditional music of the Gorals (with references to Polish Christmas carol „Bóg się rodzi”), all of which resulted in a truly remarkable masterpiece, hailed one of the most important albums in the history of Polish music, surpassing 700 000 copies sold and showered with prestigious awards. The project was a huge success not only in Poland and its vicinity, but also in other European countries (eg. Italy, Greece, Spain, France, even in Turkey and Israel).
I was only 9 when Kayah i Bregovic released their album, but I remember the tremendous popularity it gained among all Poles, especially the cult track „Prawy do lewego”. Let alone weddings, „Prawy do lewego” has remained an ultimate party song until today and was also quite a hit during my Erasmus days (around 4-5 years ago), since it happened to be a perfect background for a revelry (I can still visualize my French friend going gaga on the dance floor to the crazy rhythm of the music!). „Kayah i Bregović” is, hands down, one of the most important albums in my life, marked by many memories and I’m never going to get bored of listening to my favourite tracks.
With the 2017 tour in Poland, both artists prove that the unique sound that was born out of their seemingly uncanny collaboration has not grown old – quite the opposite! Goran with his gypsy orchestra started the party with a bang! and raised the energy levels in an instant. He performed some of his old hit singles, like „Kalashnikov” and a few tracks from the albums he recorded with various artists, for example „Bella ciao”, his version of an Italian partisan song, included on „Champagne for Gypsies”. When Kayah, with her charismatic voice and impeccable presence, finally joined him on the stage, the public did not need much to go wild and sing along with her until the end of the show.
Allow me to bring the Polish folk music a bit closer to you, with the selection of my personal favourites from the bestselling album:
Kayah and Goran are pursuing successful solo careers and they both have worked closely with renown artists from all over the world. Kayah conquered my heart with her 2013 album „Transoriental Orchestra”, which was an exploration of Jewish music – it seems that she has managed to find the perfect ‚niche’ that enriches her artistic projects and she really fits in a deep „oriental” ambience. The recently released single „Po co” featuring an Israeli singer Idan Raichel stays within the cultural circle that the artist has embraced many years ago. Goran, on the other hand, is about to launch a new album on October 6, 2017, titled „Three Letters from Sarajevo”, uniting the city’s 3 religions and bringing in brought in a full symphony orchestra together with vocalists Rachid Taha, Riff Cohen, Asaf Avidan and Bebe- the latter is now the main reason for my eager anticipation for Goran’s upcoming release.
I hope you enjoy this post and let me know, whether you are familiar with „Kayah i Bregović” and similar examples of such a perfect blend of modern and traditional folk music!