New Wave was a very important musical and atmospherical influence on my life. It was music, a subculture, a feeling and way of life back then.
New Wave is a subgenre of rock music that emerged in the mid to late 1970s alongside punk rock. The term at first generally was synonymous with punk rock before being considered a genre in its own right that incorporated aspects of electronic and experimental music, mod subculture, and disco, rock and 1960s pop music. While it incorporated much of the original punk rock sound and ethos, such as an emphasis on short and punchy songs, it was characterized by greater complexity in both music and lyrics. The 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s have seen revivals. Acts influenced by New Wave music had become popular by 2004; subsequently, the genre has been influential on the indie rock movement.
Artists from Poland, including famous composers like Frederic Chopin, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Henryk Wieniawski, Karol Szymanowski, Krzysztof Penderecki or Henryk Górecki and traditional, regionalised folk musicians, create a lively and diverse music scene, which even recognises its own music genres, such as poezja śpiewana and disco polo.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Poland is one of the few countries in Europe where rock and hip hop dominate over pop music, while all kinds of alternative music genres are encouraged.
Poland has always been a very open country to new music genres and even before the fall of communism, music styles like rock, metal, jazz, electronic, and New Wave were well-known. Since 1989, the Polish scene has exploded with new talents and a more diverse style.
Every year, a huge gathering of young Poles meet to celebrate the rock and alternative music in Jarocin, Żary, and Kostrzyn nad Odrą and at Open'er Festival and Off Festival. These events often attract more than 250,000 people and are comparable to the gatherings in Woodstock and Roskilde.
Poland has a very active underground extreme metal music scene. Some of the bands that have heralded and helped the cause are Behemoth, Vader, Yattering, Decapitated, Indukti, Hate, and Lux Occulta. This has paved ground for a large underground movement. One of the biggest record labels of death metal in Poland is Empire Records.
In jazz music, polish musicians created a specific style, which was most famous in 60s and 70s. Most famous polish jazz artists are: Krzysztof Komeda, Adam Makowicz, Tomasz Stańko, Michał Urbaniak.
Two contemporary big Polish music festivals are Opole Festival and Sopot Festival. Among other important festivals there are: Jazz Jamboree, Rawa Blues Festival and Wratislavia Cantans.
Poland has one of the strongest and well renowned heavy metal communities in Europe, especially when it comes to death metal. The most internationally recognised Polish death metal band is highly likely to be considered to be Vader, who as well as having toured across the globe as well as after nearly thirty years of activity have themselves inspired a new generation of musicians and bands to follow in their path. The other most well recognised Polish bands internationally are Behemoth and Decapitated who have toured extensively across Europe, America and in the case of the latter, recently touring Australia and New Zealand.
Though there is also a healthy and active grindcore scene, death metal remains Poland's most popular and famous export as far as heavy metal goes.
I know poetry, art, culture and classical music has had influence on some New Wave bands. For instance one of the best Russian novels of the 19th century, Nicolaj GogolDead Souls was a favourite of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division. A song by Joy Division, "Dead Souls" (1980), is named after this novel.
Ian Curtis was the group's sole lyricist. Curtis would write frantically when the mood took him; he would then listen to the band's music (which was often arranged by Sumner) and used the lyrics that were most appropriate. Words and images such as "coldness, pressure, darkness, crisis, failure, collapse, loss of control" recur in his songs. In 1979, NME journalist Paul Rambali wrote, "The themes of Joy Division's music are sorrowful, painful, and sometimes deeply sad." Musicologist Robert Palmer wrote in Musician that the writings of William S. Burroughs and J. G. Ballard were "obvious influences" to Curtis, and Morris also remembered the singer reading T. S. Eliot.
William S. Burroughs
J. G. Ballard
T. S. Eliot
The band refused to explain their lyrics to the press or print the words on lyrics sheets. Curtis told the fanzine Printed Noise, "We haven't got a message really; the lyrics are open to interpretation. They're multidimensional. You can read into them what you like."
I'll bet the communist did not like Polish Punks, subcultures, anarchists, hippies like Tufta, Polish New Wave and dissident student cirlces with their own music, poetry, literature and again subculture, which was not official like the succesful Polish Black market, KOR and Solidarnosc.
Now I am curious what Polish New Wave bands existed and which ones Tufta and Bo liked! The communist era created an atmosphere for New Wave! An Underground subculture.
Pjotr, I will tell you the truth. I was never fond of new wave. My primary interest was heavy metal as you know.
I think one of new wave groups, a splinter of punk rock, was Brygada Kryzys, a cult group in 1980s. I quite appreciated it but without enthusiasm. Buying their record was virtually impossible then. I still have it:
Probably tufta, when he comes back, will tell you more about Polish new wave.
Thanks Bo for Brygada Kryzys, Republika, Klaus Mitffoch, Roxa and Kapitan Nema, it was a good and pleasent lesson in Polish musical history and your choice of it. If you have more Polish New Wave bands, please share it with me Tufta. I witnessed in Warsaw, Krakow and Poznan an atmosphere for New Wave music? Why? Polish history, the layers in it, the differant styles of architecture in Poland, the mixture of Polish Gothic and Baroc, the marks of the second world war everywhere in the cities, towns, villages and landscapes. The Krakow underground, disco club, in eitghtees stile with posters of old Polish cars of the Peoples republic, people dressed in black and the typical New wave dress of the Cure in the eightees (girls with black make up and dramatic dances), the theatrical atmosphere and the wormth of a brotherhood atmosphere (a sort of subculture cult). I liked it and there was hard to find a place like that in the Netherlands in 2004 which was like that. Most places were invaded by electronic music (House, techno, top 40 music, mainstream). I liked the Underground atmosphere of that place in Krakow, we only could find it via our Dutch Polish friend, a Dutchman with two Polish parants who speaks Polish fluently and who had connections in Poland. (This young man was an exellent example of a billingual person, perfect Dutch and perfect Polish - I asked a Pole about his Polish - He was an exellent guide to original Polish restaurants, pubs and clubs - the Non-tourist ones) For us it was a club with a typical Krakowian Polish atmosphere, and we danced, drank and partied with the Poles until the early hours. That was a lot of Vodka or Whiskey. Fortunately I did not had a hangover the next morning. I felt great that night dancing in my black Motörhead T-shirt with the Polish, Dutch and German girls and guys of my Art Academy touringcar (bus) and the Krakow Poles.
I enjoyed Republika - Nie pytaj o Polskę and Moja krew very much. Klaus Mitffoch is a sort of New Wave with Ska influences and Roxa and Kapitan Nemo are classical eightees New Wave bands with that typical New Wave sound. Roxa has the uplifting spirit of New Romanticism, the youth fashion and music movement in the United Kingdom that flourished between the years 1979 and 1982. Bo, Brygada Kryzys sounds good, in the sense of the old fashionate Punk-New Wave tradition. They have the anarchist style and lay-out of the Dutch and German Anarchist movement, squaters (Autonomen) of the eightees.
Pieter, I do like some Polish new wave, i.e. Republika but generally it is too cold for me. But since you've mentioned full of emotion Doros³e Dzieci by Turbo here are two songs from that time and genre I greatly appreciated and still remember I did!!
Two wonderful songs Tufta, you carried me to a part of Polish Pop music history I didn't know. My music as teenager and student in my twenties was the British New Wave and New Romantic music above here together with the Punk-rock, Hard rock, rock and electronic music I liked and like. (You saw the electronic music link at the other Forum).
The world of Exodus, Kapitan Nemo, Roxa, Brygada Kryzys and Klaus Mitffoch is a new part of New Wave to me and a part of the new music history I was closed off from by the eightees Iron Curtain.
Wonderful, back home I was able to listen to your youtubes. I liked the music and the short movies or ducu-stile registrations and videoclips. It's swinging, there is sca, Blues, Rock'n Roll, the cabaretesk element of the Rumanian Dada Cabaret Voltaire of the 20-ies/30-ies and the typical Polish folk and humor.
I was not only thinking about Frank Zappa but also Tom Waits:
In 1991 retro futurist acts such as Stereolab and Saint Etienne mixed New Wave and kitschy 1960s pop. In the aftermath of Grunge (Nirvana and etc.), the British music press launched a campaign to promote the New Wave of New Wave. This campaign involved overtly punk and New Wave influenced acts such as Elastica and Smash but was eclipsed by Britpop. Other acts of note during the 1990s included No Doubt, Six Finger Satellite, and Brainiac. During that decade the synthesizer heavy dance sounds British and European New Wave acts influenced various incarnations of Eurodisco and trance. Chris Martin was inspired to start Coldplay by a-ha.