Warsaw-based band formed in 1983, one of the first and most important Polish bands to embrace reggae music.
Izrael came to life in Spring 1983 as an initiative of guitarist Robert Brylewski (formerly of punk rock legend Brygada Kryzys) and singer Paweł "Kelner" Rozwadowski (formerly of Deuter). Initially they were joined by percussionists Milo Kurtis and Jarosław Ptasiński, saxophone player Tomasz Świtalski and singer Vivian Quarcoo.
In April 1983, Izrael debuted on stage at Warsaw's Hybrydy club, and in May recorded its first studio material with several guests musicians including Tomasz Lipiński, Jerzy Jarmołowicz, Piotr Malik and Tadeusz Kuczyński. The recordings appeared in the 1985 album Biada biada biada preceded by a popular single Rastaman nie kłamie / Rastaman don't lie were released, due to censorship issues, under the name Issiael.
In Autumn 1983, after a successful tour supporting reggae legend Misty in Roots, Rozwadowski left the band. In 1984 fragments of Izrael's concert at Jarocin festival were featured in Piotr Łazarkiewicz's documentary Fala / Wave, and live recording of Wolność / Freedom appeared on the highly influential Fala compilation album.
1985 marks the arrival of bassist and singer Dariusz "Maleo" Malejonek (also performing with the band Kultura). In 1986 the band's second album, Nabij faje was recorded with significant help from several prolific musicians - Piotr Subotkiewicz (keyboards), Sławomir Wróblewski (drums, bass, guitar), Alik Dziki (bass), Sławomir Gołaszewski (woodwinds), Piotr "Stopa" Żyżelewicz (drums) and Tomasz Żmijewski (bass and guitar).
In 1987 Izrael released Duchowa rewolucja Vol. 1 / Spiritual Revolution Vol. 1 (Vol. 2, recorded during the same sessions, appeared in 1991) collaborating with several musicians, including, key musicians of Armia and Kult - Tomasz Budzyński, Krzysztof Banasik and Paweł Szanajca. By the end of the 1980s the line-up was fluid, and finally Izrael was reduced to Brylewski, Malejonek, Żyżelewicz and Wróblewski. In early 1990 saxophonist Włodzimierz Kiniorski joined.
In Summer 1990 the band recorded new songs in London's legendary Ariwa Studios. The album 1991 is to this day is regarded as one of the best records of Polish alternative music, combining energy, passion, rich, multi-layered sound and world-class production.
Izrael toured extensively, releasing a live album in 1994. A year later the band was put on hold. In 1997 Brylewski assembled alternative versions of earlier tracks, released as Izrael In Dub.
The band reformed in 2006, initially as Magnetosfera. The original name and line-up was brought back in 2007. In 2008, Izrael recorded its last album to date, Dża ludzie, recorded in London under the supervision of legendary dub and reggae producer, Mad Professor.
Author: Maciej Sienkiewicz, November 2010.