Warsaw-based band rooted equally in rock and world music, led by guitarist and songwriter Wojciech Waglewski. One of the most popular, original and influential bands of Polish popular music.
Voo Voo came to life as an initiative of Wojciech Waglewski (born April 21, 1953 in Nowy Sącz), guitarist, singer, composer and lyricist. First lineup was derived from one-off studio project Morawski/Nowicki/Waglewski/Hołdys and consisted of, besides the leader, bassist Andrzej Nowicki, drummer Wojciech Morawski and percussionist Milo Kurtis. With Marek Czapelski as the new drummer, Voo Voo debuted at Jarocin Festival in August 1985. A year later the self-titled debut album was released - dark at times, serious, introvert record clearly stood out compared to majority of Polish popular music of mid-80s.
Soon after Voo Voo underwent serious changes in its lineup, new members were found bassist Jan Pospieszalski (formerly with Czerwone Gitary and Marek&Wacek), his brother Mateusz (saxophone, flute, formerly with jazz band Tie Break) and drummer Andrzej Ryszka (formerly with Tie Break and Young Power). This lineup recorded the live album Koncert and new studio LP Sno-powiązałka (both in 1987). Besides Poland, they toured Western Europe, Scandinavia and Russia. In December 1987, new studio recordings were made, released in 1991 as Zespół gitar elektrycznych.
In 1988 the band participated in Małe Wu Wu project - a new, "serious" approach to children's songs. New compositions fused rock with elements of world music, funk and rap and were performed with children of fellow musicians (Kuba Sojka, Karolina Poznakowska or Marysia Stokłosa). Guests included keyboardist Józef Gawrych and singer Fiolka Najdenowicz. Voo Voo's third album titled Z środy na czwartek appeared in Autumn 1988. In Winter 1989, the band played at the "Letnia zadyma w środku zimy" festival, covers included classic songs by The Doors and The Kinks - Riders On the Storm and You Really Got Me, appearing later on their live compilation album. Autumn 1989 saw the recording of Voo Voo's first soundtrack album (mostly instrumental) to Seszele the debut film by Bogusław Linda.
In Summer 1990, Voo Voo was joined by new drummer Piotr Żyżelewicz, known for his work with key players of Polish alternative rock scene - Armia and Izrael. He debuted during sessions for the sequel of Małe Wu Wu. In December 1990 Waglewski released his solo debut Gra-żonie.
In Spring 1991 Voo Voo worked on music for a stage presentation Popioły by Lublin's Scena Ruchu theatre, later released as Mimozaika album. Later this year another soundtrack appears, this time for Zaćmienie piątego słońca, a documentary by Krzysztof Bukowski. The band also guest stars on the Christmas album Kolędy Pospieszalskich.
By the end of 1992 Voo Voo releases Łobi Jabi, its first album to include string quartet. Touring extensively, the band records an acoustic live album, Koncert w Łodzi.
Autumn 1994 released Zapłacono, it became the most popular Voo Voo album to date. Guest musicians included Senegalese singer Mamadou Diouf (who collaborates with the band frequently over the next seven years) and folk musician Joszko Broda. For this record Waglewski received a Fryderyk, for the best composer of the year, an award of the Polish music industry.
In July 1995 Voo Voo celebrated its 10th anniversary with a major concert at the picturesque old quarry in Kazimierz on the Wisłą River. The band was joined by fellow rock musicians (John Porter, Świetliki, Homo Twist), folk ensembles (Palinka, Kwartet Jorgi) and string quartet. New album, Rapatapa-to-ja, released in Autumn 1995, was more than ever influenced by jazz and ethnic, namely African music.
Najlepsi śpiewają Voo Voo - Flota Zjednoczonych sił from 1997 was an unusual compilation album - here, the band's most popular songs were sung by popular Polish singers: Lech Janerka, Kazik Staszewski, Stanisław Sojka, Kayah and Kasia Kowalska. Starting in Summer 1997, Voo Voo became a frequent participant of "Sounds Of the North" - folk music festival held in Gdańsk - performing and recording with folk ensembles from Russia and Mongolia.
In early 1998 Jan Pospieszalski left the band and Karim Martusewicz becomes the new bass player. Voo Voo releases Oov Oov, its first album to incorporate electronic effects and instruments, featuring rhythms inspired by trip hop and jungle music. The band successfully attempted to recreate this dense sound on stage without using loops and sequencers.
In Autumn 2000 Voo Voo entered fully-analogue studio in Janowiec, recording one of its most catchy and vigorous albums: Płyta z muzyką, clearly influenced by classic rock of the late 60s. On the contrary, Płyta, released in 2002, was heavily inspired by hip hop and acid jazz and promoted by small club concerts in Poland, Western Europe and the US.
Voo Voo z kobietami from Summer 2003 was recorded with prolific female singers such as Urszula Dudziak and Anna Maria Jopek. Trójdźwięki, triple live album recorded for Polish Radio in 2005 brought further collaborations with folk musicians. For its 20th anniversary Voo Voo recorded two albums of new songs - XX cz. 1 (2005) and 21 (2006). In 2006, the band recorded Tischner with folk ensemble Trebunie Tutki. Samo Voo Voo appeared in 2008, followed by a joint effort with Ukrainian band Haydamaky.
Band's last album to date, Wszyscy muzycy to wojownicy, released in Autumn 2010 and was recorded with young producers, Maciej Cieślak and Emade, coming from hip hop and alternative rock scene.
Apart from Voo Voo, all the band members are simultaneously involved in numerous other projects. Waglewski is a regular member of Jacek Ostaszewski's experimental world music band Osjan, and as a guest musician appeared on records by Martyna Jakubowicz, Maria Peszek, Raz Dwa Trzy or Renata Przemyk. Mateusz Pospieszalski works with Tie Break, Graal, YeShe and Drum Freaks, also writes music for theatre and television. Karim Martusewicz established Karimski Club in 2005, and Piotr Żyżelewicz plays also with 2TM2,3 and Arka Noego.
Author: Maciej Sienkiewicz, November 2010.