A singer, songwriter, composer and poet, born December 10, 1945 in Zamość, died October 9, 2006 in Kraków.
A singer, songwriter, composer and poet, he is widely considered one of the most original artists of Polish popular music.
Marek Grechuta is widely considered one of the most original artists of Polish popular music, known for his interpretation of original lyrics, as well as new spins on Polish poetry from various periods of the 20th century. Grechuta collaborated with a number of significant musicians in shaping the scene of "sung poetry" as we know it today. Combining progressive rock and modern jazz with elements of ethnic or classical music, Grechuta, while quite popular at time, always remained outside the bounds of mainstream of pop music.
Marek Grechuta began studying piano at the age of seven and continued for the next ten years. He moved to Kraków to begin architectural studies, where he settled for the rest of his life. In December 1966, Grechuta founded the band Anawa with pianist and composer Jan Kanty-Pawluśkiewicz. The group delivered poetic lyrics within complex arrangements which applied classical instruments towards pop song lyrics. Scoring two major awards at the Student Song Festival in Autumn 1967, the band released their debut album Marek Grechuta i Anawa in 1970.
In Spring 1971, with a significantly expanded lineup, the band recorded Korowód. Fusing chamber music with folk, progressive rock with jazz, this album is regarded not only as one of the most important recordings of 20th century Polish music, but also one of the most original European pop/rock records of the early '70s.
Grechuta left Anawa by the end of 1971 and the project was put on hold indefinitely. However, at least two highly influential bands emerged from its ashes: the experimental world music project Ossjan founded by Jacek Ostaszewski and Maanam founded by guitarist Marek Jackowski, which later became one of the key bands of 80s Poland.
In 1972, Grechuta started a new project Wiem with guitarist Paweł Ścierański. Performing both original lyrics and contemporary Polish poetry from the likes of Leszek Aleksander Moczulski, Tadeusz Śliwiak and Ryszard Krynicki, the band recorded albums Droga za widnokres (1972) and Magia obłoków (1974).
Rejoining forces with Jan Kanty-Pawluśkiewicz, Grechuta wrote new pieces based on the texts of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz. The theatrical production of Szalona lokomotywa was successfully staged in 1977 in several major Polish cities and recorded for television. Songs from the musical were also released as an album. Same year also brought Grand Prix of the Polish Song Festival in Opole for the single Hop szklankę piwa.
In 1979 Grechuta recorded an album of songs written to the poems of Tadeusz Nowak. Śpiewające obrazy followed two years later, containing both new songs and fragments of a score written for the staging of Shakespeare's Othello.
Grechuta was a close associate of Piwnica Pod Baranami in Kraków, a legendary cabaret and a collective of writers, poets, musicians and perfomers. During the late 1970s, the troupe toured extensively in Poland, around Europe, in Australia, Canada and the USA.
Concerts and recordings were rare during 80s when Grechuta published two books of poetry and took up painting instead. He returned with Krajobraz pełen nadziei, an album of new songs, in 1989. The next few records, although praised by some critics, failed commercially and mostly went unnoticed.
In spite of his place outside mainstream music, in 2003 Grechuta recorded the song Kraków with Myslovitz, a popular alternative rock band of the young generation.
Gradually withdrawing from playing live and recording, Grechuta struggled with a terminal illness. He finally lost the battle for his life on 9 October 2006 in Cracow.
- Marek Grechuta i Anawa, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1970
- Korowód, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1971
- Droga za widnokres, Muza, 1972
- Magia obłoków, Pronit, 1974
- Szalona lokomotywa, Pronit, 1977
- Pieśni Marka Grechuty do słow Tadeusza Nowaka, Pronit, 1979
- Śpiewające obrazy, Pronit, 1981
- W malinowym chruśniaku (with actress Krystyna Janda), Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1984
- Wiosna, ach to ty, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1987
- Krajobraz pełen nadziei, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1989
- Ocalić od zapomnienia, Muza, 1990
- Piosenki dla dzieci i rodziców, EMI, 1991
- Jeszcze pożyjemy, Muza, 1993
- Dziesięć ważnych słów, EMI, 1994
- Niezwykłe miejsca, EMI, 2003
- Godzina miłowania, EMI, 2005
Author: Maciej Sienkiewicz, June 2010.