It has become something of a tradition for Ethno Port Festival to kick off with two events: an opening concert in the Grand Hall and the Dance Party, which gathers hundreds of festival-goers at the Castle Courtyard. Some of them have developed a passion for celebrating together to the sounds of folk music live thanks to years of collaboration with Dom Tańca Poznań. What Jacek Hałas and his friends have accomplished is evident in the wild processions and the energy of the dancers.
This year, the Dance Party is going to begin with an encounter of the Hałas family ensemble who join forces with the legendary Hungarian musicians of Muzsikás. It was in Hungary that the ‘dance houses’ were born, while Muzsikás have made a substantial contribution to make them flourish and thrive. The following day, the Hungarian artists will play their own concert in CK ZAMEK’s Grand Hall. The fact that they agreed to make an extra appearance at our Dance Party is an extraordinary occasion.
Still, those are the artist from Silesia to whom we are going to owe most of the fun. They decided to divide their show into two parts. The repertoire of Krzikopa, combining contemporary sounds and rhythms with the natural, traditional singing and instruments (accordion and violins), will make up the first. Then, the folk band Rube Świnÿe will take the stage, to get the entire audience dancing like there’s no tomorrow.
In the recent decades, the folklore which had been repressed from collective consciousness witnessed a sweeping revival, though initially it spanned mainly central and eastern parts of the country. With time, enthusiasts of folk music-making began to find inspiration in the music of other regions. In this regard, Krzikopa is exceptional for two reasons.
First, it is one of the few groups who tap into the music of Silesia. Secondly, they pave the way for interpretations combining the tough edge of rock (quite sharp sometimes) and bold electronics. Here, the natural singing goes hand in hand with dubstep accordion and heavy-metal violins, while the inspirations seem endless. Krzikopa fuses it all in no plain fashion, yet without pretence and in good style.
This is how the band put it: “Let us introduce you to a crew which started playing not too long ago and call themselves Krzikopa, meaning a ditch in Polish. They’ve got three songs all told, but more’s in the making, they say. […] It’s all about making right neat noise, the way it’s meant to be in our neck of the woods. The blast is there somewhere in those original songs, you just need to get it out. We want to reach everyone, ‘cause the songs are freaking awesome, but it bothers us that none know it, so we want to change it!”. Obviously, it all sounds so much better in their language, where each word echoes the uniquely robust essence of Silesia.
Hałasy are no doubt Poznań’s best known family of musicians. On top of that, a family who live a different life than most, somewhat against the grain, with much imagination and a pinch of crazy. The can pack their world and set off direction adventure, hungry for new experiences, cultures and sounds. Then, once they return, they eagerly share the adventure with others, using a mobile cultural facility: a yurt filled with song and dance.
The parents, Alicja and Jacek are among the first musicians in Poland who became utterly enamoured of culture of the Polish countryside. They can now boast thousands of experiences and encounters under their belt, having met folk artists from Poland, Scandinavia, the Balkans, and the Middle East. They are the founders with Dom Tańca of Poznań, which invites audiences to get to know the austere, spontaneous village music that grows out of the natural rhythms of life.
Their children—Julia, Antoni, Jonasz and Jakub—share deeply in the joy of experiencing the traditional, often forgotten pastimes to the accompaniment of fiddles, drums, bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy and other traditional instruments.
They are a folk ensamble from Upper Silesia, whose dialectal name means “Fat Accordions” in standard Polish. The musicians fuse folk improvisation with the imaginative ways of jazz, only to multiply it by joy of playing together. And although they do not go beyond the traditional set of instruments, the dance music they easily manage to cook up is by all means contemporary in terms of energy and captivating effect: standing still is no longer an option, without exceptions!