This energetic band from Kraków was a revelation at the 2014 edition of the New Tradition festival. Their combination of punk rock and street folk, taken back in time by eighty years to the era of the Sanation, and infused with the rage of the working class sounded extremely fresh.
Music band combining punk rock and street folk.
It is a bold concept: to imagine that in the difficult interwar period, when the fascist movements in Europe grew in strength, labourers reached not just for weapons but also for musical instruments. They refuse to be manipulated – they don't trust the factory owners, nor the communists. Their outrage has bred punk rock played on accordion, banjo, tuba, and a drum. Hańba! (which translates to Disgrace!) has been described as folk cabaret. Not at all! Hańba! is a band with a strong, sincere message, which is enhanced by its appealing form, but still very much valid in contemporary times. After all, over the past several years, the ongoing economic crisis has been new radical right-wing formations that oppose the free market doctrine to emerge and enter both national governments and the European Parliament. Hańba!'s premise is thus topical: no to fascism, no to liberalism, no to clericalism, while communism – no to that, too. A few years earlier, the punk-folk R.U.T.A. conveyed a similar message based on historical context. Hańba! adds a pinch of salt to that context, for who now wears a flat cap, shirt, or baggy trousers with suspenders? In their case, however, it is the the lyrical layer that is fundamental, while their tribute to President Gabriel Narutowicz is to be taken seriously. Just like in the poems by Brzechwa and Tuwim, which they tend to use – things are sometimes funny, but also quite harsh.
They explained the source of their fascination with those times in an interview
The Second Polish Republic is so interesting for it's a condensation of everything that is best and worst in Poland and Poles. On one hand, the great Polish figures, phenomenal inventions, best literature, and on the other – illiteracy, xenophobia, antisemitism, poverty. […] We probably also liked the fact that at the time, the Republic of Poland was a melting pot of cultures, religions, and ethnicities, which we – as persons who are really inspired by very many musical genres – miss sometimes.
The band was founded in Kraków. Its members are: Andrzej Zamenhoff – banjo, Adam Sobolewski – drum, comb, tambourine, Ignacy Woland – tuba, and Wiesław Król – accordion. They previously performed with bands that played folk (Bumtralala, Południca!), punk (Ziemniaki), indie rock (SuperXiu, Two Red Triangles), or even metal (Crowmoth). They sing together, which creates an impressive effect, especially in the bawled choruses. Their fist live performance took place in March 2013, in their home town. They are occasionally joined on stage by Scotia Gilroy (from the group Vladimirska) and/or Krakowski Chór Rewolucyjny (Kraków Revolutionary Choir). When, soon after their first gig, they released their debut album Figa z makiem, comprising just six tracks, they wrote about themselves:
They made the decision to obey no one. They resent Sanation, are sickened by communism, they don't trust the nationalists. For each and all Hańba! today has Figa z makiem (a Polish idiom meaning the same as sweet Fanny Adams)!
In the following year, they recorded two more equally short albums: Prosto w serce (Straight Into Heart) and Guma i gówno (Rubber and Crap). The artwork for each of them contained simple pictograms that referenced the aesthetics of the interwar period. Each of the records was also made available online for free.
In early 2014 the band participated in the project Granie zeSpołem – Alternative Music as a Means of Promoting the Social and Economic Potential of Cooperative Welfare, which assembles bands that refer to the idea of cooperative activities in their song lyrics. The album Zespolenie, which grew out of that project, includes Hańba!'s song Do roboty (Down to Work). The band received the Czesław Niemen Special Award in the aforementioned Polish Radio Folk Music Competition New Tradition (Nowa Tradycja), for “bold artistic idea and expression”. In an informal ranking of journalists specializing in folk music, published by the Folk24.pl website, Hańba! was unanimously proclaimed the artist of the year 2014 and debut of the year, while its album – as the most anticipated event of the following year. The band has performed, among others, in Germany and Czech Republic, as well as Polish festivals: Skrzyżowanie Kultur (Cross Culture Festival) in Warsaw, Mikołajki Folkowe (Folk Mikołajki) in Lublin, and Slot Art in Lubiąż.
- 2013 – Figa z makiem
- 2014 – Prosto w serce
- 2014 – Guma i gówno
Author: Jacek Świąder, transl. Ania Micińska, June 2015