Stanisław Soyka is a pianist, vocalist, and composer. He was born on 26th April 1959 in Żory. He graduated from the State Music School in Gliwice, the Secondary Music School in Katowice, and the Faculty of Arrangement and Composition at the Academy of Music in Katowice.
He began playing music at an early age as a soprano in the cathedral chorus in Gliwice. In 1978, he made his debut with a recital in the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw as part of the Jazz in Philharmonic Hall cycle. His first album – Don't You Cry – was a live recording of the recital. Next was an album called Blublula from 1981 which included such standards as I'm Just A Lucky So And So by Duke Ellington and Naima by John Coltrane. In the same year, the album was named the jazz record of the year and earned a gold record.
In 1986, he signed a contract with the German branch of RCA Records, for whom he recorded his first album of his own material entitled Stanisław Sojka. In 1988 he started cooperating with guitarist Janusz ‘Yanina’ Iwański – co-founder of the charismatic group Tie Break. In 1995, he recorded Retrospekcja, an album featuring his most famous songs composed in the previous 10 years.
In the same year, he released an album of Shakespeare’s sonnets translated into Polish – Sonety Shakespeare. It was the result of his cooperation with writer and translator Maciej Słomczyński. Four years later, in 1999, an English language version of the album entitled Soyka Sings W. Shakespeare Sonnets was released. From 1996 to 2002, he recorded such albums as Polskie Pieśni Wielkopostne and Sztuka Błądzenia.
Soyka composed music for the lyrics of the Roman Triptych, written by Pope John Paul II. It was performed on 4th November 2003 at a concert in the Vatican to celebrate the name-day of John Paul II.
A Foreigner's Guide to Polish Jazz
In March 2004 Soyka released an album featuring his arrangements of jazz standards. The album was called Soyka Sings Love Songs and contains classic songs such as Fly Me To the Moon and My Funny Valentine. The lead single of the album was Soyka’s version of a song composed by Marek Grechuta – Odkąd Jesteś.
In 2008, Soyka made his debut on the silver screen in Dorota Kędzierzawska’s film Tomorrow Will Be Better. One year later, the radio drama Jeszcze się Spotkamy Młodsi, premiered. It was directed by Krzysztof Czeczota and Soyka wrote the music. The play was awarded the Grand Prix at the ‘Dwa Teatry’ Festival in Sopot, and Stanisław Soyka received an award for best original score.
The artist quickly returned to poetry. In 2010, during a tribute concert for the poet and writer Agnieszka Osiecka, Stanisław Soyka performed and wrote the music for some of Osiecka’s lesser-known poems. One year later, he released an album featuring sentimental ballads – Soyka… Tylko Brać: Osiecka Znana i Nieznana, which was a very personal, sentimental tribute to the poet.
In 2011, which was officially proclaimed the Year of Miłosz, he performed another musical adaptation of poetry. Czesław Miłosz, a Polish poet, novelist, essayist, translator and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, was a source of inspiration of Soyka since his early childhood. On the album Stanisław Soyka Śpiewa 7 Wierszy Czesława Miłosza Soyka sings seven poems by the Polish Nobel laureate. The lead single – Na Cześć Księdza Baki – was recorded with singer Czesław Mozil.
In 2012, he paid tribute to Czesław Niemen, one of the most popular artists in Polish pop music. The album was entitled Stanisław Soyka w Hołdzie Mistrzowi. Soyka revealed that he had been preparing for the album for 12 years and that recording it took just 5 days.
Later, Soyka collaborated with Adam Strug to release an album with musical interpretations of the poetry of Bolesław Leśmian. The musicians shared an admiration for the works of Leśmian, which resulted in the prominent album entitled Strug. Leśmian. Soyka. The simple piano arrangements refer to traditional, folk, and liturgical music.
In 2015, Soyka and the Roger Berg Big Band recorded Swing Revisited, which was a smash hit. The musicians met after the Big Band’s concert in Warsaw. During the jam session, Soyka came onstage and improvised with the band. They quickly started to collaborate, which resulted in an album with well-known standards mostly by Duke Ellington and Ray Charles.
The artist returned to Shakespeare 20 years after the premiere of Soyka Sings W. Shakespeare Sonnets. In 2015, with the vocal group Cracow Singers, he released the album Shakespeare a Cappella.
During his career, he has mainly composed music to lyrics written by other artists. However, in 2019, he published the album Muzyka i Słowa, to which he wrote his own lyrics. The artist said that he was inspired by his travels through the United States. He visited places such as Kingston and Woodstock, which enhanced his artistic vision. On the album we can hear rhythms from the late 1970s, R&B and reggae, as well as ballads.
Stanisław Soyka is still a prominent Polish jazz and pop singer. He has developed his own, original musical language and gained great recognition. His albums have won gold and silver record awards.
Yass: The Jazz, The Filth & The Fury
history of jazz
• Don’t You Cry (Poljazz, 1979)
• Blublula (Polskie Nagrania, 1981)
• Soyka Sings Ellington (Helicon, 1982)
• Stanisław Sojka (RCA, 1986)
• Retrospekcja. Koncert. Kraków (Pomaton EMI, 1995)
• Sonety Shakespeare (Pomaton EMI, 1995)
• Soyka Sings Shakespeare's Sonnets (Pomaton EMI, 1999)
• Polskie Pieśni Wielkopostne (Pomaton EMI, 2001)
• Tryptyk Rzymski (Pomaton EMI, 2003)
• Soyka Sings Love Songs (Pomaton EMI, 2004)
• Stanisław Soyka śpiewa 7 wierszy Czesława Miłosza (Universal Music Polska, 2011)
• Stanisław Soyka w hołdzie Mistrzowi (Universal Music Polska, 2012)
• Muzyka i słowa (Universal Music Polska, 2019)
• Strug. Leśmian. Soyka (z Adamem Strugiem, Universal Music Polska, 2014)
• Swing Revisited (z Roger Berg Big Band, Universal Music Polska, 2015)
• Shakespeare a cappella (z Cracow Singers, Warner Music Poland, 2015)
With the band Soyka-Yanina
• In Concert (Polton, 1990)
• Neopositive (ESA, 1992)
• Live In Remont (2CD, ESA, 1993)
Authors: Marek Romański & Magdalena Majkowska, January 2009, Updated by MM in March 2019