A pop-rock band, active since the mid-1960s. One of the most popular Polish groups of the late 1960s - early 1970s.
Skaldowie was formed in the summer of 1965 by the Zieliński brothers: Andrzej (vocals, piano, hammond organ) and Jacek (vocals, trumpet, violin). In addition to the Zieliński's, the original line-up consisted of guitar players Zygmunt and Janusz Kaczmarski, bass player Feliks Naglicki and drummer Jerzy Fasiński. The band's stage début took place in the autumn of 1965 at the "The 2nd Krakow Song Market" ("II Krakowska Giełda Piosenki") contest, where they won first prize for the song Moja czarownica / My Sorceress. Skaldowie repeated their success in the following two editions of the festival, taking home first prize for songs with lyrics by Wiesław Dymny and Leszek Aleksander Moczulski.
After their 1966 successes in both the Opole Festival and Teenage Music Festival in Gdańsk, the band had their first radio recording and also performed in popular films such as Mocne uderzenie / Hard Hit and Cierpkie głogi / Sour Hawthorns.
In1967 the debut album Skaldowie was released, followed shortly after by some changes in the line-up. The band now included drummer Jan Budziaszek, guitar players Marek Jamrozy and Jerzy Tarsiński and singer/ bass player Konrad Ratyński.
After their performance in the film Kulig / Sleigh Party by S. Kokesz, Skaldowie released their second album Wszystko mi mówi że mnie ktoś pokochał / Everything Tells Me Someone's Fallen In Love With Me in 1968. In 1969 the band appeared on television programmes such as Listy śpiewające / Singing Letters and Po górach, po chmurach / Over Clouds and Mountains (with lyrics by Ernest Brylla) and the film Jak powstali Skaldowie / The Rise of Skaldowie. The next record, Cała jesteś w skowronkach / You're Covered in Skylarks, brought a series of popular hits, including Króliczek / Bunny, Prześliczna wiolonczelistka / Radiant Cellist and Medytacje wiejskiego listonosza / Musings of a Village Mail-Man. In the same year the band toured the US and Canada.
In January 1970 Skaldowie record their first concept album - Od wschodu do zachodu słońca / From Sunrise to Sunset containing a version of Arcangelo Corelli's Sarabanda and Zawieja / Snowstorm with lyrics by poet Julian Tuwim. The same year the band also released Ty / You which was followed by extensive touring in Western Europe (Germany, Great Britain). In 1972 Skaldowie release two albums - Wszystkim zakochanym / To All Those In Love which brought further hits, while Krywań, Krywań / Kriváň, Kriváň marked a courageous attempt to create complex, richly arranged pieces inspired by progressive rock. Today, Krywań, Krywań is considered to be the band's greatest musical success and one of the most important records in the history of Polish rock music.
After a series of concerts, including a tour marking the band's 10th anniversary, Skaldowie record two new albums, which were then released in 1976. Szanujmy wspomnienia / Let's Honour Our Memories and Stworzenia świata część druga / Creation of the World. Part II brought further collections of classic hits. These were followed by Rezerwat miłości / Love Preserve from 1979 and Droga ludzi / The Path of Man that featured in the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. At the same time the band recorded material for the Zostaw to młodszym / Leave it to Youth album - although the record was never released (parts of the material were subsequently released in the mid-1990s.). The group also composed the music for the theatre production Pieśń nad pieśniami, czyli ballada człowieka o miłości / Song Above All Songs: a Ballad About Love which also featured lyrics by Wiesław Dymny.
In1981 Skaldowie went on tour to the US. Whilst abroad, they heard about the introduction of martial law in Poland. The news led to Andrzej Zieliński's decision to stay in US, whilst the rest of the band came back home. All of their musical activity was subsequently suspended.
In 1987 Jacek Zieliński re-launched Skaldowie with a completely new lineup. The record Nie domykajmy drzwi / Let's Not Close The Doors (1989) brought commercial success, and New York-based Andrzej Zieliński began to appear on stage more often with his former collegues. The band's following releases were Christmas albums - Po śniegu, po kolędzie / After the Snow, After the Carol (1994), Moje Betlejem / My Bethlehem (1997) and Podróż magiczna / Magical Journey (1996), which consisted mostly of unreleased previous recordings and heralded the band's return to progressive rock. During the 1990s, Skaldowie performed sporadically, before giving a huge concert to mark the 35th anniversary of the band Skaldowie i przyjaciele / Skaldowie & Friends in 2000. The band re-formed in 2005 and released their album, Harmonia świata / World Harmonies in May 2005.
The band's latest release was October 2010's Oddychać i kochać / Breathing & Loving. The present line-up of the group consists of: Jacek and Andrzej Zieliński, bass player Konrad Ratyński, drummer Rafał Tarcholik, guitar player Jerzy Tarsiński and keyboardist Grzegorz Górkiewicz.
Author: Maciej Sienkiewicz, December 2010.
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