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Poland's Ethno Song and Dance Charms China

Zakopower, photo: press release

The perfomances of Zakopower and Cracovia Danza are in the spotlight of the 13th Meet in Beijing Arts Festival, with futher showings in the country's major concert venues organised by the Polish Embassy and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute

The Meet in Beijing Arts Festival is held annually with the aim of instigating international exchange and promulgating Chinese culture among the visiting artists. Events take place as part of the festival, with theatre performances, exhibitions, official galas, panels and seminars. To date, more than 1,000 artistic groups from 110 countries have performed at the event, including companies as famed as the Bolshoi Ballet and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Zakopower is Poland’s highly popular band, founded by the violinist and singer Sebastian Karpiela-Bułecka. The group’s sound is a blend of traditional folk music of the country’s hardy Tatra mountaineers, the Gorale, with contemporary rock music. Echoes of jazz and punk also resonate in Zakopower’s music, with other ethnic traditions blended in with core sounds from the Tatra Podhale region. This unique fusion has garnered acclaim and awards throughout the band’s career, from a special mention at the major festival in Opole, Poland, to winning the TOPtrendy festival, with a prestigious Fryderyk statuette in 2008 in the ethno/folk category to the band's credit, as well. They were presented with three more Fryderyks in 2012, in the Song of the Year category for their track entitled Boso, and for Group of the Year and the Album of the Year.

Zakopower have also toured extensively overseas, performing in India, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and in China, where they crowned the bold finale of Poland’s presence at the 2010 World EXPO in Beijing. The band played in London in 2010 at Nigel Kennedy's Polish Weekend to an enthusiastic audience, and reviews including The Times, which underscored the bandleader Karpiel-Bułecka's charisma and instrumental talent.

Zakopower are Sebastian Karpiel-Bułecka - vocals, violin, Podhale bagpipes, Bartek Kudasik - vocals, viola, Józef Chyc - vocals, Podhale bass, Wojciech Topa - vocals, violin, Łukasz Moskal - vocals, percussion, Michał Trąbski - bass guitar, Piotr Rychlec - keyboard instruments, Tomek Krawczyk - electric guitar, Dominik Trębski - trumpet.

Programme of concerts in Beijing:

• 29th of April, Chaoyang Sports Center
• 30th of April, Tongzhou Canal Park
• 1st of May, Chaoyang Sports Center


The Court Ballet Cracovia Danza was founded by Romana Agnel and since 2006 it operates as a Cultural Institution of the City of Kraków. It is the only professional ensemble of historical dance in Poland, concentrating on restoring and animating traditional dances and court ballets of various countries and epochs. Apart from their artistic goals, Cracovia Danza aim to promote knowledge on the history of dance through workshops, conferences, publications and public lectures. Most of the ensemble’s performances are realised in cooperation with prominent instrumentatlists and traditional music ensembles.

Cracovia Danza have collaborated with the Spirit of Gambo (from Hannover, Germany), Le Concert de l'Hostel Dieu and La Grande Ecurie Et La Chambre De Roy (France), the Belgian Ricercar Consort, Collegium Marianum (Czech Republic), and others. The ensemble organises Poland’s Festival of Court Dances, held annually in Kraków since 2010.

Cracovia Danza are Romana Maciuk-Agnel - ballet director, dancer, Krzysztof Antkowiak - dancer, Dariusz Brojek  - dancer,  Adam Czechlewski - dancer, Jan Fečko - dancer, Monika Kieliba - dancer, Zbigniew Konopacki-Maciuk - technician, Dominika Malaga - dancer, Magdalena Żmuda - dancer, Dominika Kosek-Turkowska - manager, technician.

Programme of performances in Beijing:

• 21st of May, Fatou Arts Center
• 22nd of May, Beijing University of Chemical Technology


Apart from their performances at Meet in Beijing, both Zakopower and Cracovia Danza set out on tour across China, organised by the Polish Embassy in Beijing. Zakopower performs on the 4th of May at the Lanzhou Theatre in Lanzhou and on the 5th of May at the Qinghai Theatre in Xining.
Cracovia Danza perform on the following dates:

• 23rd of May, Jinan (as part of the Polish Cultural Days)
• 24th of May, Zuoping (Polish Cultural Days)
• 25th of May, Changyi (DKP)
• 27th of May, Beijing (The West of Beijing International Art of Performance Festival)
• 28th of May, Beijing (Embassy Open Day)
• 29th of May, Beijing (The West of Beijing International Art of Performance Festival)

Editor: Lucyna Szura, translated by Paulina Schlosser, 2.05.2013

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