Lets start by saying how deeply impressed I am with the range and quality of music available in Poland. It did not take me long after arriving to realise that this is a country with some very good local music and artists, many of whom would be international chart toppers were they singing in English. Thankfully though, they generally don’t sing in English because when they do it becomes very nasty indeed (with a few exceptions, like Smolik).
For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about “popular music”. Polish ‘classical’ music, music for film, jazz and the regional ‘folk’ music (especially mountain music) are all superb but I won’t get into that.
I shall now prostrate myself as I tell of some that I like, to be met with howls of laughter from our resident Poles. I’ll start with the one that gets the biggest laughs, I like Wilki (try this, or this, or this). Moving swiftly on, I also like – Myslovitz (here’s a good one and another), T Love (Warszawa of course) & Sidney Polak (try this one). The first band I got into here was Budka Suflera who I think of as the Polish Beatles, only a lot uglier! They’ve been pretty quiet recently and I’ve grown tired of them. The most recent purchase was the debut album by Feel (the most popular one), they’ve got something interesting going on. I enjoyed Kayah & Bregovic although that’s almost folk. There are others, but sadly not many. Oh, I’ve seen Myslovitz, T Love, Sidney and Budka live as well.
Now, this may well be a short list but I could also include (if I could remember the names) the approximately 300 individual tracks/artists who are repeatedly played at what seems like every “occasion”, (weddings, balls, new year parties and so on). Many of these, if not all, are what I would call “golden oldies” and appear to be far more loved and played here than the equivalent (Status Quo, Rod Stewart) would in the UK. Here’s one example from the wonderfully named, Lady Pank. You just can’t help getting caught up in the fun when everyone starts singing these things. The vodka helps!
Here’s my problem. I don’t consider myself to be a complete failure in the musical taste department and yet many of the bands above are not seen as ‘serious’ by Poles. Is this a case of cultural differences, of my not understanding the lyrics as well as I should, of my not being well educated enough as regards Polish bands? How come I appear to have different musical tastes depending on the language? I need help!
Just to give you the other side of the story, as a benchmark. Early (late school and after) influences were – Led Zep, Alice Cooper, T Rex, Beatles, Elton John, Bowie, Genesis, Floyd, Eagles, Elton John, Who. There was then a punky moment with – Stranglers, Clash, Sex Pistols, Jam, etc, also stuff like Eddie & The Hotrods, much of this enjoyed at The Marquee, Wardour Street. Then followed things like – Style Council, Level 42, Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, OMD, Human League, George Benson, Billy Joel, Springsteen. Most recent purchases, some today even, have been a mix of catching up with stuff and new stuff – Moby, Fatboy Slim, Green Day, 3 Doors Down, Radiohead, Blur, Stone Roses, Oasis, Pulp, Travis, Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Pearl Jam, Stereophonics…………
I’ll make one other observation while I’m here. Warsaw, Poland, is in desperate need of a good music store!!!!! Not long ago, I went to the largest Empik in town armed with a list of 10 albums I wanted. These were all, in my and millions of others opinions, mainstream top quality popular music (not Polish). They managed to find two of them, the rest I had to order from Amazon.uk. I’m told the place on Chmielna is better but last time I went there it was the same story – nie ma! I asked the sales guy why they have 400 copies of Doda (actually she’s not too bad so insert another crass band) and yet are so sadly lacking in decent music. He agreed, whoever is buying music for Empik needs shooting and can we all write to Virgin Megastores or someone like that, please!
Almost forgot – go read my personal blog you morons! (Don’t go looking for music though)