Warsaw-based band established in 2009 known for its covers of post-war urban folk tunes. Their first release garnered 3. 5 million views in a matter of weeks, making it the most popular Polish-produced video clip in 2011.
The Warsaw-based band made its name with re-recordings of traditional Warsaw folk tunes with a new twist. Their first release garnered 3. 5 million views in a matter of weeks, making it the most popular Polish-produced video clip in 2011.
Projekt Warszawiak (Varsovian Project) made its name with re-recording traditional Warsaw folk tunes and giving them a new twist. Long before the band was formed the prospective members of the group became fascinated with the music of Stanisław Grzesiuk, a legendary street musician and writer. From the post-war period until his death in the sixties, Grzesiuk performed and recorded songs that were characteristic for how they portrayed Warsaw's metropolitan vibe of the time, with all its gritty glamour. His versions are now considered classic and are often played by many street bands active in the capital.
Founding members Łukasz Garlicki, Jacek Jędrasik and Szymon Orfin decided to create their own renditions of these compositions and formed the band in 2009. They were intent on giving the traditional tunes entirely new forms. Hence they focused on using electronic beats and sounds as well as samples in their versions - an approach that was considered dubious by the majority of the street musicians performing Warsaw folk music. Ironically, neither of the three is a professional musician. Łukasz is a popular actor who performs in television show and feature films, Jacek is a successful adman and Szymon is a respected sound engineer.
The trio took their time making their music as they were all engaged in their day jobs. After recording a certain amount of material they decided that live instruments ought to appear in the songs and invited guitarist Marek Kępa to collaborate on a number of tracks. Soon other collaborations followed, with Łukasz Korybalski contributing his original trumpeting style to one song and the actress Ania Sroka providing lead vocals for one of the ballads. After recording seven songs the band lost its impetus for a while and that was when jealousy played an important part.
In 2010 Jacek’s buddy Igor Seider from the band Mama Selita made a video clip for one of his songs. It was then that Jędrasik thought that he wants a clip of his own so that he could solidify Projekt's status as an authentic band on the Warsaw alternative scene. The same year work on the video clip for the song Nie masz cwaniaka nad Warszawiaka (No Hustler Slicker than a Warsaw Hustler) began. Garlicki played the main part, personifying all the various characters of Warsaw's current scene - from the classic Mermaid and street thug to kebab seller.
The music video premiered in January 2011 and instantly became a major Youtube hit, garnering a million views in a matter of days. Suddenly journalists and music companies started calling the band members asking for interviews and proposing various publishing offers. The band gained speed and soon enough two more songs were recorded. The self-titled album was released that year by Mystic Production. The LP features two original compositions and several covers of traditional Warsaw folk songs created in various styles. Nie masz cwaniaka… is simple and straightforward. The song begins with a catchy synthetic bass line, which goes on to create a great background for Łukasz’s confident vocals. The heartbreaking ballad Stachu features the compelling singing of Ania Sroka and the tasteful guitar lines played by Marek Kępa. On the other hand Augusta is an electronic 12 bar blues composed by Orfin, in which Jędrasik sings the choruses.
Following the release of the album the band released two more videos - Tango Apaszowskie and Felek. Felek once again featured Garlicki, this time playing opposite his own father, the well-known Polish film actor Piotr Garlicki.
The band also launched a highly successful concert tour over 2011-2012, with Jacek and Łukasz on vocals, Szymon playing samples from his laptop and Marek on the electric guitar. A rhythm section composed of drummer Dominik Jędrzejczyk and bass player Maciej Cyngot joined the group. Projekt Warszawiak soon became a fully-fledged concert machine and its live performances were considered by many superior to the recordings from the album. The band went on to play at many events and in many towns, traveling as far as to Stavanger in Norway. They remain an active band and are planning to record another album. In a review of a concert the group played in Kraków critic Aleksandra Parzyszek surmised,
Probably most of the fans were surprised to hear such energetic, punk-rock versions of "Felek Zdankiewicz", "Jadziem panie Zielonka" or "Nie masz cwaniaka…". (…) The boys really give a powerful performance, they don’t use playback, they are extremely vigorous and don’t stand behind the microphones. Their playing knocks your socks off.
Project Warszawiak is due to release their fourth music video in autumn 2012. For more information on the band, see: www.projektwarszawiak.pl and www.facebook.com/projektwarszawiak
Editor: Agnieszka Le Nart, August 2012