Travels do educate. Regardless of cultural differences in music we understand each other without using words.
20 years ago my world trip has started and has not ended till today. I have been meeting people, getting to know new instruments, different concepts of beauty, rhythm, timbre. Those differences seem still fascinating but also they provoke me to ask questions about my identity.
My first love was cello. In the secondary school, a fascination of mine with the sound of the stringed instruments of India resulted in my moving to India and studying the techniques for playing the sarangi. I have learned from great masters of Indian music: Pandit Rama Narayan and Ustad Sabri Khan. After years of studies on Indian art and culture, I started travelling to Korea, Japan, China, Middle East, Africa, Australia and Siberia. With time I was getting more often the impression that I climb to a top of a high mountain, from which I can see more clearly the elements of my own musical tradition, which had been invisible to me. It almost felt like discovering new land. The more I saw, the more often I asked myself about the differences between me and my culture and the ones I meet while travelling. What unites us and what separates? Not only in the context of outer shapes and colors but on the level emotions, needs and expectations regarding music were concerned.
In 1992 I heard for the first time about an extinct Polish instrument –Suka from Bilgoray. Thanks to many interesting circumstances I have started to reconstruct the playing technique on Suka and to create a repertoire for it, based on the historical documents and oral folk tradition. It was after I had finished studies in the cello class at the Academy of Music and play for some time on knee fiddles from exotic countries around the world. They are usually played with a so-called finger-nail technique. In 1993 I prepared a concert for the Warsaw Academy of Music. It was entitled “Magic of bow”. I wanted to present the wide variety of bow instruments from different world cultures, by playing on them with other musicians. I succeeded in gathering numerous young people, fascinated with Extra-European music, mainly Asia. They were playing European, Indian, Mongolian and Chinese instruments. And it was day before the concert that a bridge in my Mongolian morin-khuur broke. A friend of mine recommended me an exceptional luthier in Warsaw who could help in an emergency. It was a crucial meeting. When Andrew Kuczkowsky saw my Asian instrument and I told him how to play on them, the only comment he gave was: “ we have been waiting exactly for that”. At that time Mr. Kuczkowsky and prof. Ewa Dahlig had already reconstructed suka, but only for museum purposes. There was no one, who really mastered the finger-nail technique of playing, which had been forgotten in Poland for almost a century. That is how my story has unexpectedly started to come full circle. Studies in India and other Asian countries turned out to be useful in reviving already extinct Polish tradition of playing Suka from Bilgoray and shortly after Fiddle from Plock. I willingly picked up the gauntlet. A fascinating time of reconstruction and recreating finger-nail technique of playing started. At the beginning of the 90s an idea of a programme “At the sources of Chopin music” came to my mind. It was a very clear-cut concept. Nobody argues with the fact that the uniqueness of Chopin’s compositions is mostly due to his inspiration drawn from folk music. Normally these two styles function in different contexts and belong to different traditions of rendition. My programme was born to break the stereotype. I offered a new perspective , which reduced folk music and Chopin’s mazurkas equally. Such renditions of Chopin’s compositions to common denominator and thus I gave to the listener a completely new look on this. In order to realize my artistic vision of the programme which fused Chopin’s music with songs and melodies from Masovia region.
1997-2002 the time I spent in Japan enriched my experience. I met there all kinds of people; simple villagers and countrymen, but also Japanese elite from Emperor’s court, diplomats, music world celebrities of classical, jazz, folk and world music, who set trends in music and answer to the needs of audience around the world. When the world-wide famous American cellist Mr. YoYo Ma asked me ( 2000) to compose for him some pieces for cello, suka and fiddle and play together I thought I was dreaming. But it was a real, amazing artistic experience and challenge. The fact Japanese people love Chopin, who is omnipresent on the islands, encouraged me to more bravely experiment with music and instruments. It was then that “Chopin on Far East” programme was created, in which traditional Japanese, Chinese and Korean instruments were used to render Chopin’s pieces. Since then, wherever I was performing and with whoever I was playing, I have always tried to prepare at least Chopin’s compositions in an unusual way. It reinforced my conviction that perfect music can be played on any instruments and will sound well.
At the half of 90ties in my music more and more multiculturer projects. They consist of a greater appreciation of intolerable dissimilarities. Slowly I understand that in musical aesthetics recognition and reciprocal acknowledgement of various maxims of forming musical material is more important than looking for any common substance contained in sound phenomenon throughout time and world regions. It was time when I created new CD’s “Silk Road Suite”, “Sacrum& Profanum” “Four seasons”. It was time full of a searching, meetings…..Finally I have created a new idea: Meeting between World Music and Chopin’s music!!!!! CD “Chopin on Five Continents” became an attempt at multicultural meeting, whose driving axis is the composer’s selected masterpieces. This programme featured pieces inspired by Chopin’s works. It was a collision of ethnical instruments from all over the world and the classical and folk European instruments. It was also a meeting of popular musical themes with selected Chopin’s works.
Suddenly 2012 I am coming back to classical music. I have discoveedr forgotten Polish female composer. Complately vanished in my country but her composition Maiden’s Prayer has been traveling around the world for 160 years,every Japanese child knows the tune, taiwanese garbage collectors signal their arrival with the tune ,one of the craters on Venus is called Badarzewska! SO I recorded first in Poland CD with her music : “Lost sound”.
Time is passing...World is changing , new generations are creating a new World. But my experiences are still alive. I am recording music, creating a new projects, making workshops lecturers etc.
Silk Road music or Polish music? Classical music or folk? World Music or jazz? Perhaps heavy metal? OkJ I understood . Genre of music is not a question. Music must move human heart.
I invite you to meet my music- my love !!