Tag Archives: popular music

How to be an RMF FM disc jockey

With it’s position as the “most popular radio station” in Poland,  RMF FM can be found playing in most establishments and shops where a radio is playing. I would guess that it presumably plays in many Polish homes as well. RMF celebrates it’s 20th year of existence this year, giving the people of Poland “Radio, Muzyka, Fakty” as they go about their day to day lives.With its extended offerings of RMFMaxxx and RMF Classic, they have cornered a large section of the Polish radio listenership market.

RMF

It used to be called Radio Małopolska Fun, you know

One day, I spent a few hours listening to the regular RMF station (as opposed to RMF Maxxx or RMF Classic). I happened to notice a pattern emerging in the music being played. Most songs could be categorised into one of the following groupings (with some exceptions, of course).

A ‘recent’ chart hit: In this situation, recent means in the past 12-18 months. A song in this category tends to be a big hit, usually worldwide and usually sung in English. The best recent example I’ve heard for this category has been “Pokerface” by Lady Gaga. This has gotten a lot of air-time in the past year.

An 80’s classic: Everyone loves an 80’s classic, whether it be the power-ballad, or the one with the video where the lead singer had the huge hair. RMF tends to go for songs such as “Take On Me” by Aha, or Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. These will give listeners an instant flash-back 25 years or so.

A Polish group or artist: There is a rule on French radio where at least 40% of music played should be sung in French. I am not aware of such a rule on Polish radio, but Polish groups and artists do tend to get a look in. Artists such as Piasek (Andrzej Piaseczny), Natalia Kukulska, Myslovitz and Wilki featuring quite often.

A Queen song: Queen have such a presence on RMF that I don’t think I have experienced an hour of music on RMF without one Queen song being played. The Queen songs that seem to feature highest in the playlists are “The Show Must Go On” and “I Want To Break Free”.

A ‘Eurodance’ song: This would be a song with a strong dance beat with a slight techno mix thrown in. In short, it’s a perfect song to be dancing (and singing along) to for Polish listeners. The big hit in this category at the moment seems to be “Ayo Technology” by Milow.

A ‘forgotten’ 90’s hit: When it was released, such a song as this would to be one that you could not get out of your head. However, as time has passed it has slipped from memory, but yet a single playing on RMF can jog your memory as to how good it was. The best examples I have heard recently would be “Zombie” by The Cranberries or “Just A Little Crush” by Jennifer Paige. It must have been 10 or more years since I last heard them before they popped up on RMF.

A Celine Dion song in French: With almost all songs on RMF sung in either Polish or English, it is a nice surprise to hear a song in another language from time to time. However, the usual choice seems to be Celine Dion singing a song such as “Pour que tu m’aimes encore”. While it is probably a fine song, it seems to be over-played.

A re-mixed older song: An easy way to have a new hit song seems to be for a dance musician to re-mix an older song into the new ‘dance’ version. RMF have followed suit, playing songs such as “Roxanne” by The Police or “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan. However the songs have been given a new backing track and slightly faster dance beat to make them radio-friendly for modern times.

With the above knowledge, I’m going to see if I can apply to work as a DJ with RMF. One of the perks could be the possibility to work in their ‘space bubble’ buildings (pictured below). They can be seen from the A4 autostrada when travelling between Kraków and Katowice.

RMF - A4

The perfect hideout for an evil villain in a James Bond film?

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What's That Sound? #1

With the success of earlier caption competitions, Polandian is branching out into other competition formats, beginning this week with a music-related competition. Below you’ll find some of the lyrics of 3 songs – but to ‘mix it up’ they have been put into an online translator and translated into some languages (including Polish, of course) and then returned to English, with hilariously difficult-to-understand results.

The first one should be fairly easy, the second a little tougher, and the final one will be most difficult. There will also be some pictures which may give a hint as to the song or singer/band. No doubt our musically keen readers will guess most of these fairly easily, but maybe you’ll have a laugh in seeing how the translations work out. For now, each of these songs is a song sung in English, but further competitions will include songs in Polish and other languages.

Update: With this round proving difficult, I’ve added in a second clue for each song.

Song 1:

“Now the rain was still with my umbrella, stick to stir”

WTS1-1

Clue Number 2

Rihanna

Song 2:

“My drive is killing me, I know I still believe that I have lost my head.

Give me a sign. Once again, I guess children”

WTS1-2

Clue Number 2

crocker


Song 3:

“Us this morning, oh, easy, but I think the formula. Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm”

WTS1-3

Clue Number 2

beatles-yesterday

The correct answers are: firstly, Rihanna with ‘Umbrella’, followed  by Britney Spears and ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ and finally, the Beatles with ‘Yesterday’

Thanks for participating…

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Music – Polish and otherwise

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)

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