Paulina Przybysz was only 21 when the band Sistars, which she started with her sister Natalia, disbanded. Ever since then, she has been recording solo as Pinnawela, although she probably feels most comfortable working with several groups simultaneously. She is a member of Rita Pax, she's in a duo with Marek Pędziwiatr entitled Minimal, and she's also Sonar Soul’s vocalist.
Musician, vocalist, and songwriter,
Paulina Przybysz was born in 1985, two years after Natalia. In music school, they both learned to play the cello. Aged just 9, she won the Grand Prix at the Morda Festival along with her sister. Together they started the band Cebion. They then formed Sistars as teenagers in 2001. After two successful albums, both in terms of reviews and sales, Fryderyk awards, performances at the Eurovision Song contest and at the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole, the band split up in 2006. The hip-hop/soul band with an R’n’B twist made two short-lived comebacks, although they never recorded another full album.
After Sistars disbanded, Paulina began recording under the stage name Pinnawela (inspired by an east Indian orphanage for elephants) and resigned from her previous, more 'hip-hop-esque' nickname Lil’Sista. She was influenced by the work of Erykah Badu, Prinsie, and D’Angelo, composed music on MIDI instruments and contrary to her sister, it never took her long to sit down with a piece of paper and write lyrics. A year after her debut Soulahili (2008), Paulina entered the competition at the Opole Festival with the sugary sweet song Przeczucie: ‘without his manly strength I can carry on/the question is if I want to’. Later, when she was already pregnant, she recorded Renesoul (2011), which is partly in Polish and partly in English. She also did the graphic design for it. She collaborated with Piotr Zabrodzki and Jan Młynarski on both albums.
From then on, it seems that she feels most comfortable in musical collaborations. She works simultaneously with a few musicians and bands. In an interview with T-Mobile Music she states:
I sometimes have moments of doubt, when I tell myself : Paulina, maybe you should get yourself a normal job, but… I don’t have any better ideas and I don’t want to have any, because I can’t imagine my life without making music, endless collaborations with amazing musicians and people and all different sorts of partnerships.
In June 2013, Rita Pax released their debut album. Paulina was supported by Katarzyna Piszek (known from Brodka’s and Novika’s concert line-up) and musicians from Excessive Machine – brothers Piotr and Paweł Zalewscy (classically educated musicians, with whom she attended music school), as well as Remek Zawadzki. Their creative and diverse musical arrangements combined ‘retro’ with ‘neo’, and Przybysz showed herself in a crazy cover of Lennon’s Instant Karma.
Paulina, like her sister, spoke a lot about self-acceptance on her album, although she chose a more exquisite, harmonic and rhythmical form.
The second album of the virtuoso band Rita Pax came out in March 2015 – Zawadzki was replaced by Jerzy Markuszewski. Old Transport Wonders is ‘hippie soul’ as the lead singer calls it. A great inspiration for her is the way that Dana Auerbach from The Black Keys sings. As she mentioned in an interview, the sound is more acoustic, organic: a Celtic harp, musical saw, saz, the dulcimer.
For some time now, she also performs as Minimal – a condensed version of Paulina Przybysz, accompanied on stage only by Marek Pędziwiatr from Night Marks Electric. In collaboration with him, Paulina creates ‘the most up-to-date selection of what she loves in music. At their concerts, you can hear an array of different songs: their cover interpretations, the hit songs that she wrote in previous collaborations, and unique, improvised versions of unpublished songs freshly written right before the concert.’ They both sing.
She performs live with Sonar Soul as well, and appeared on the EP Trip To A (2014). They also tour abroad with great success. Along with the musicians of Night Marks Electric Trio, both of the Przybysz sisters joined to make the band Archeo. In 2015, their single Burning Down The House from Talking Heads' repertoire was a great success. Two outstanding percussionists, Marcin Ułanowski and Hubert Zemler (also on synthesizers), who had previously collaborated with the sisters, performed with them in this single. Several months prior to that, Archeo released a heavily electronic, mighty-sounding track entitled Warsoul (Cleaning Transients), that can be found on the EP album U Know Warsoul. In 2014, both sisters performed the song Leki, signed as a collaboration between NMET and Archeo.
Other collaborations? Paulina performs No F No L (2008) on June’s album entitled That’s What I Like, and the dance song Go Ahead (2013) on Michael ‘Fox’ Król’s album entitled Fox.
She also sang on the album Chilli (2009) by the band of the same name led by Robert Cichy. On a compilation entitled Cafe Fogg (2008), dedicated to Mieczysław Fogg, she sang Un Peu Demonde, on the compilation Morowe Panny (2012) she sang Poranek and along with her mother and sister, she sang Biało-czarny on the compilation Panny wyklęte (2013).
Jacek Świąder, June 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska
Solo Discography (as Pinnawela):
Discography with Rita Pax:
Discography with Sistars: