The musical legacy that Poland has provided to the world is undoubtedly one of the largest and with widest reach. Mazurkas (mazurek), from a rural context, source for the inspiration of variants all over the world, from Sweden to Philippines, from Cabo Verde to Latin America, and polonaise dances (chodzony), refined in the aristocratic circles, were terms of global outreach much more before the Information Age, systematized and raised to the classical music context by key composers, like the Romantic Frédéric Chopin and much more, also no Polish ones, like Telemann, Músorgski, Débussy, Ravel, Scriabin, Borodin, Dvořák or Schubert.
Which is the deep emotion that underlie in a music that, refering to the Romantic character of the Spanish literature Don Juan, has climbed to the palaces and has gone down to the huts, that has gone across centuries and continents, in an unfinished transmutation? That is the same emotion, sometimes contained, sometimes unbridled, of the music that Janusz Prusinowski and his partners offer.
Janusz has found that emotion exactly in its bearers of that popular inheritance, in its living sources: the old rural musicians. From his contemporary approach, with that deep knowledge, combined with their high technical skills, Janusz and his partners take a step forward to build a new repertoire that creates beauty and truth.
- “These guys play with high skill and all the fire and rhythmic energy of the village musicians they’ve learned from […] The music they produce, lurching, rhythm-jumping is vigorous, grainy-textured, even appearing rough on the surface, but in no way is any of the playing anything but extremely skilled” Andrew Cronshaw, artist and music critic in fRoots, Great Britain
- “A powerful statement of faith in the strength of Poland’s traditional culture.” “Janusz Prusinowski plays like a man possessed, flinging his head around as if incitingeveryone to dance. And he is a man possessed with a passion for Poland’s village musicand the three-beat rhythms of the mazurka(mazurek), oberek and polonaise”. Simon Broughton, music critic in Songlines, Great Britain
- “What struck me right away about this music was its amazing ability to mix the feel and power of village dance music with the personal contemporary sensibilities of the players.” Michal Shapiro, Huffington Post, EEUU
The work made by Janusz for more than 20 years searching those old masters, as well as his iniciative as founder and artistic director of the Wszystkie Mazurki Świata (Festival Mazurkas of the World) in Warsaw have earned him the bronze medal Gloria Artis, by the Ministry of Culture and National Patrimony from Poland, on December 2014.
Janusz Prusinowski is violinist, plays the Polish accordeon, the cymbal and sings in a manner as natural as breathing. Piotr Piszczatowski provides the percusion, with its unpredictable patterns that the body finally feels like evident. Michał Żak is in charge of the wind instruments, playes flute, clarinet and a shawm that remember the Arabised dolçainas from the Iberian East. Piotr Zgorzelski plays the very peculiar folk bass, with a shape similar to a cello and acts with dexterity as dancing teacher wherever the contexts is suitable for it. The nostalgic and heartshaking sound of the trumpet is provided by Szczepan Pospieszalski.
The band has played all over Europe, at Canada and the USA, where they have played in temples of the music, like the Carnegie Hall in New York and the Chicago Symphony Center, also in Asia, and they have been selected for the most important global trade fair of world music: Womex Thessaloniki 2012 and Womex Cardiff 2013.
With them a new cycle in the long History of the global conquest by Polish music is open.
Listen to them:
Photo at the top: Joanna Wiedro
Photo: Janusz Prusinowski Kompania at Womex 2012, by Yannis Psathas
Photo: Janusz Prusinowski Kompania at Carnegie Hall, by Anna Fields
Photo: Robert Widera