Last year the Polish city of Wrocław classified as one of 230 Best Cities to Live by consulting company Mercer. In 2016 Wrocław has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture; this candidacy is shared with the Spanish City of San Sebastián.
»Wrocław entered the competition for the title of European Capital of Culture 2016, because it has a story to tell…
A story which is unusual, tragic and intriguing. After years of prosperity and development, there had been disaster at an unimaginable scale. The Second World War left the city utterly ruined – both physically and spiritually. It lost citizens who had been creating its greatness for many generations. Then new citizens arrived. Frightened, uncertain of the future, alienated. Brought together from many regions of the post-war country, for years they built their identity, creating their own culture. It took a long time before we accepted German, Jewish and Polish heritage lived here as one. Ours. It took a long time, but we did that. Today, we can proudly say, not neglecting the achievements of our forbearers, that we have built a new city. With all respect due to them, to otherness and multiculturalism and to history, we have created an open Wrocław, with unusually interesting culture and aspirations, contemporary and intriguing. It’s time to show it to the world, to show what we consider worth sharing and what constitutes an enormous contribution to the development of Europe. We want to talk about our past and our present. About how life can grow from ruins and human tragedies. We’ll be telling this story throughout 2016, without complexes, aware of our worth. We’re certain our story will be interesting. And we hope it will become an inspiration for those who’ll be open and listen to it.
2016 is a time and space to discuss the metamorphosis of culture – past, present and future.«
ROOTS MUSIC from WROCŁAW
The postmodern project Breslauer Cocktail was born both from the passion for the music of the 1920's and 1930's era and the avantgarde sound of today.
Singer Natalia Nikolska and her team mix these classic melodies with movie scores, Jewish, industrial, electronic and even rock tunes.
Buraky from Wrocław were formed in June 2001. The band members are open to various experiments combining traditional
folk music with different styles and sounds.
Their repertoire comprises Polish, Lemko, Ukrainian, Balkan and Gypsy folk songs, as well
as the group's own compositions inspired from traditional music.
The musicians collaborated with legendary
British blues guitarist Tony McPhee (The Groundhogs), who undoubtedly influenced Buraky's approach to folk music.
In 2014 Buraky were the backing band for Chris Jagger on his Polish tour.
Chudoba is one of the best-known Polish folk bands, playing concerts all over Europe and the USA.
Their music, in particular from the Podole region, is renowned for it's energy and charm.
Ethnoholic were spontaneously created in 2008.
It is a project by a few enthusiasts, who have been singing and playing folk music for years in a number of Wrocław-based bands.
Inspiration are both traditional techniques (especially ones
characterised by the so-called 'white voice') and the contemporary interpretations of folklore music.
Ethnoholic are still evolving - although they sympathize with Carpathian folklore, the repertoire also includes Gypsy and Balkan songs.
Hoverla is a Polish-Ukrainian folk-rock group from Wrocław, whose music is deeply rooted in Polish, Ukrainian and Lemko folk music.
The unique quality of the band is the blend of traditional folk tunes with
compositions that integrate contemporary genres like rock, jazz, reggae, and ska.
The rock-driven rhythm section, combined with fiddle, accordion and
Slavic vocals form the building blocks that complement passionate live performances.
Jedliniok were created in 1975, performing Silesian folklore,
but also folklore from other Polish regions. The group takes its name from a Lower Silesian dance from Jedlina Zdroj.
Jedliniok has performed around the world, representing Poland at numerous international folk festivals.
The members of the ensemble are students of the Agricultural University of Wrocław.
Since its foundation around 3,000 students have attended its activities. Former members have created
their own folk groups and became promoters of the cultural life in the region.
In the 1990's, improvisational music called yass was derived from traditional jazz combined with rock, ethnic and electronic music. To the offspring of yass belongs Karbido. Its concept of playing loosely combined, different styles unites a common framework for improvisation. Their music is a totally free style mixing folk music with hard rock.
Orkiestra Samanta is a folk rock band from Wrocław, which draws inspiration from Irish folk music and their own maritime experience. Lively music, combined with colourful tales about the sea is the Orkiestra's unique brand. Since 2003 the Orkiestra Samanta collaborates with Celtic rockers Les Dieses from Parthenay. Their joint show "The Project Odyssey" proved to be popular in both Poland and France.
Photo Credits: (1) Wrocław 2016, (2) Wrocław, (3) Chudoba, (4) Buraky, (5) Ethnoholic, (6) Hoverla, (7) Orkiestra Samanta (unknown/website).