Trumpeter, composer, improviser, film-maker, self-taught artist. In the recent years Olgierd Dokalski has become one of the most active and versatile artists of the Warsaw independent music scene. He perfoms with Daktari, Gaamera, Płyny, and kIRk, bands which pull not only from avant-garde jazz but also punk rock and noise.
He started to play the trumpet when he was a student. He did not study at a music academy, though. He was in the first year of cybernetics at the Military University of Technology and cultural studies at the Institute of Polish Culture of the University of Warsaw. When the third album of kIRk was being released he said in the interview for 'Gazeta Wyborcza':
I did not listen to improvised music, but guitar pieces: Sonic Youth and Fugazi. One day I just felt the need to create and I knew it had to be the trumpet. After a year of heedless playing I took part in jazz workshops in Puławy and only then did I learn how to listen to jazz.
In 2005 Dokalski received a grant from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and worked on his compositions in Berlin.
He plunged into work. He was performing with more and more bands and taking part in collective improvisations. In 2012 he founded the band nor cold – an international project featuring musicians from Poland, Israel and Belgium. The artists interpreted Sephardic songs from the Balkans. Dokalski also played in such ensembles as Warsaw Improvisers Orchestra and Msza Święta w Altonie.
Moreover, Dokalski creates under his own name. The result of his solo work is the album Mirza Tarak, released in 2016. The music was inspired by an episode from the Polish history:
I felt the impulse to record when I got to know the story of Jan Murza Tarak Buczacki. Because of the events related to the Targowica Confederation (editor's note: a plot established by the Polish and Lithuanian magnates with the Russian Empress), Buczacki performed his hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) at the end of the 18th century. He was one of the few Polish Tatars (the first one from the southern part of Podlasie) who decided to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at that time. (...) It's difficult to imagine what this man felt when he had to leave his homeland because of a life threat. Right in this moment a revelation came and he decided to go on the hajj. Maybe when Buczacki was in exile he felt the need to find his roots?
On the album Dokalski is accompanied by Antonina Nowacka (vocals), Daria Wolicka (Western concert flute), Gamid Ibadullayev (drums) and Maciej Rodakowski (tenor saxophone). They create compositions which blend the influence of traditional folk music and electronic music in concise and meaningful forms. The former genre has been in the scope of Dokalski's interest since the beginning of Dokalski's career; the group Daktari, with whom he performed, mixed free-jazz with Jewish music.
Recently the trumpeter has co-formed the quartet DMCS (Dokalski/ Miarczyński/ Cieślak/ Steinbruch) and worked in the ensemble Zebry a Mit, leaded by Kamil Szuszkiewicz. Dokalski is the co-founder of the record label Circon Int, which released the albums of the duo WIDT and the bootlegs of Daktari (recorded in Berlin with the Indonesian guitarist Tommy Simatupang) and Msza Święta w Altonie. In 2013 the trumpeter became part of Jan Czapla trio, a project inspired by the works of David Grossmann, commissioned by the Jewish Community. The band's concerts were organised in Synagoga Nożyków and the club Pardon, To Tu in Warsaw. The other members of the trio were the bassist Ksawery Wójciński and the guitarist Wojciech Kwapisiński.
Dokalski was also the director of the music video for kIRk's song Za Ostatni Grosz. He graduated from the Script course in Wajda School and now he is doing a direction course there.
Originally written in Polish by Piotr Jagielski, translated by MW, February 2018