Joanna Słowińska is a vocalist and violinist. She started out in the band Muzykanci, followed by collaboration with Zygmunt Konieczny, but her greatest achievements have come as a solo artist. She’s had one foot in the world of ethnic music, the other in that of the philharmonic. She has toured the world with several of her projects, implementing her own pieces into traditional songs.
Vocalist and violinist. She started out in the band Muzykanci.
She was born in 1971 in Strzelce Krajeńskie. She was taught how to sing and play the violin at home, although she also attended music school. She graduated from the Musical Academy in Poznań in the Eurythmics Department. Along with her husband Jan, she created the band Muzykanci, with whom she won the Grand Prix (for the first time) at the New Tradition Polish Radio Folk Music Festival in 1999. She sang using a traditional ‘śpiewokrzyk’(singing/screaming) technique which is very particular to folk music.
In 2001, she began her collaboration with the composer Zygmunt Konieczny (‘he taught me how to sing quietly'). Her Kraków-based band was considered a ground-breaking musical discovery at the New Tradition Polish Radio Folk Music Festival in 2004. Słowińska received the Grand Prix, the ‘Burza Braw’ audience award, and a special award ‘Golden Gusle’ for the best instrumentalist of the festival. Her repertoire was a combination of traditional songs and folk-inspired compositions by Konieczny. She was accompanied by Michał Jurkiewicz and Jan Słowiński on the viola, Mikołaj Blajda on the double bass and Andrzej Popiel on percussion. The ensemble quickly expanded and introduced new instruments.
Shortly afterwards, Joanna Słowińska began to perform as a solo artist in Piotr Rubik’s oratorios. She performed Świętokrzyska golgota, Tu es Petrus and Psałterz wrześniowy (all released on DVD in 2006). They worked together for 3 years. She also sang on albums released by Bartłomiej Gliniak: Siedem pieśni Marii (2007) and Oratorium kalwaryjskie (2010). Zygmunt Konieczny / Music Composed To Dramas By Stanisław Wyspiański (Wyspiański według Koniecznego) is a record of the comprehensive concert given by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra along with the Kraków Philharmonic choir. Słowińska performed as a soloist in three roles: Pallas Atena, the Harpist, and the Bride.
In 2009, she performed live along with Jan Słowiński and the pianist Paweł Moszumański in a performance directed by Paweł Kamza, Moja molinezja, that was based on Nowa Huta Soap Opera (Nowohucka telenowela) by Renata Radłowska. In 2010, the premiere album At the Lord Banquet (Bal u Pana Boga) was released. The low-key recording was created in collaboration with Jarosław Bester and was heavily based on Konieczny’s compositions. Without abandoning her folk band, Słowińska perfected other projects on the side. That same year along with Maciej Miecznikowski in a project called Tango Moderne, she re-evaluated the Polish pre-war variation of tango.
Her most interesting projects are the ones in which she adds her own pieces to traditional ones. She has performed several shows in this manner, for example, canonical and folk songs of the Passion and Easter – about Christ's passion and resurrection as well as Christmas carols that date back as far as the 16th century. The main line-up Słowińska performs with consists of Stanisław Słowiński, Jan Słowiński, Justyn Małodobry and Adam Stępniowski. In 2013, they joined in on one of her new projects entitled Herbarium (Zielnik Polski). Słowińska collected sacred motifs in the tradition of Polish folk songs and she did contemporary readings and interpretations of the history of the saints and patrons as well. Musically, her folk ensemble used a combination of electronic instruments and a string quartet .
The artist tours the world with her project Archipelago, inspired by the motifs of Polish and Slavic ceremonial songs. In the modern, electronic version she is accompanied by the main line-up previously mentioned and the following improvisers: Paweł Kaczmarczyk, Marcin Oleś and Tomasz Kukurba. Likewise, here she creates new, original compositions. Apart from that, the strictly folk ensemble Muzykanci – Joanna and Jan Słowińscy and Jacek and Alicja Hałas – renewed their activity on the music scene in 2010. In 2012 and 2013, the ensemble performed at the following music festivals: New Tradition in Warsaw, Crossroads in Kraków, Brave in Wrocław, Jarmark Jagielloński in Lublin and the Ethno Port in Poznań.
Amongst the many awards Joanna Słowińska has received are: the Grand Prix as well as the Special Award for a Unique Stage Individuality at Eurofolk Festival in 1999 (along with Muzykanci), Superjedynki award in Opole, as well as the Audience Award. She was a finalist of the Stage Song Review in Wrocław (2004, 2005), winning it the latter year.
Author: Jacek Świąder, June 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska
Selected solo discography:
- Bal u Pana Boga (z Jarosławem Besterem)
Discography with the Muzykanci ensemble:
- Gore gwiazda
- A na onej górze