Siesta 2021

Gdańsk Lotos Siesta Festival 2021

“We simply deserved this concert and festival” – with these words (paraphrasing the former Polish prime minister) the lead organizer Marcin Kydryński opened the next edition of Siesta Festival.

Lucia de Carvalho

This was the second time Siesta was kickstarted in Stary Maneż music club. It opened with a wonderful concert by Lucia de Carvalho.

This artist, hailing from Angola, delighted the Gdańsk audience from the very first sounds. Her music is the essence of what can be described as the Music of the World. An amazing mix of African and Brazilian rhythms with European sounds of guitar and cello, all served in a very joyful and energetic way.

Elida Almeida

This was Elida’s third performance as part of Siesta Festival in Gdańsk. Her two Saturday concerts also served as showcase of songs from her new album “Gerasonobu“.
While it might merely be our personal judgement, biased by her charming expression, joy and energy wired into her very genes, but it is difficult for us to imagine how anyone could pass by such a performance without batting an eye.
Her concets in Gdańsk Philharmonic were full of joy of life, energy, dancing and musical perfrection, all sealed by the phenomenal performance of her bandmates. This girl not only has an incredible vocal talent, but can sell it without a slightest hint of insecurity.

The most interesting events in Poland on summer. Concerts, Festivals and outdoor events. Jazz, Rock, Reagge, Rap, Hip-Hop, Beer and traditional polish food.

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BeerWeek Festival 2021

BeerWeek Festival 2021

On the last weekend of August in Kraków took place the 6th edition of BeerWeek Festival.

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After an over year long break caused by the pandemic, the stadium of Cracovia football club has once again hosted the meeting of craft beer brewers from all over the Poland with their fans from Kraków and the neighboring areas. Despite a rather uncomfortable weather, the organizers couldn’t complain about the attendance. This proves the significance of this event in the event calendar of Lesser Poland voivodeship.

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We saw a lot of debuting craft brewers that had just debuted on the market, in addition to the big names such as “Trzech Kumpli” and “Pinty”. Browar Tarnobrzeg and “Lobster” from Wrocław prepared an especially interesting and delicious offer.

As per tradition, there was no shortage of lectures and meetings with bloggers, journalists and brewers, the last of which had plenty of experiences to share.

The most interesting events in Poland on summer. Concerts, Festivals and outdoor events. Jazz, Rock, Reagge, Rap, Hip-Hop, Beer and traditional polish food.

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Perspektywy — 9 Hills Festival 2021

Perspektywy — 9 Hills Festival​

“Perspectives” 9 Hills is a relatively young festival on Poland’s cultural map. Adding that to the fact that this event takes place in a relatively small (yet no less charming!) town might make one jump to a completely incorrect conclusion that it’s worth no attention.


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The most interesting events in Poland on summer. Concerts, Festivals and outdoor events. Jazz, Rock, Reagge, Rap, Hip-Hop, Beer and traditional polish food.

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Yellow Umbrella

Interview with Yellow Umbrela

During this edition of Ostroda Reggae Festival (9-11 July 2011) a FunInPoland representative interviewed Jens Strohschnieder (vocal, keyboard) and Thomas Hellmich (trombone) from Yellow Umbrella – reggae/ska veterans from Dresden (east Germany). Here is an edited version of the conversation.

How do you feel after the concert?

Thomas. I always feel good after concerts because of all the adrenaline.

Jens. Before the concert we were feeling pretty nervous because Ostroda is a big festival. We haven’t been playing here for fifteen years. But we had a good welcome and we enjoyed the show, dancing, singing and laughing.

Do you remember anything from fifteen years ago when you were here?

Jens. It’s actually easy to remember because it’s a long trip from Germany to northeastern Poland. I remember the distinctive location near old military barracks. We were friends with a lot of Polish bands and musicians such as Paprika Korps and Vavamuffin. We’re like one big family.

How many concerts have you given so far this year?

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Thomas. It is only our fifth concert this year – we had two in Germany last month and Ostroda finished our tour in Poland consisting of three concerts.

Our festivals in Poland have been through tough times recently due to coronavirus. How were things in Germany?

Thomas. In Germany we had rules about safety in concerts. For example, people were not allowed to dance, they had to sit. Now the rules are more lax, like here in Ostroda. On some concerts you have to bring proof of being tested for coronavirus. Furthermore, there are almost no international bands on tour in Germany these days.

Jens. We were thinking about doing concerts about listening to music, but our music is for dancing, so we are happy that people are allowed to dance and smile again. We’ve also had problems with repeatedly canceled festivals. For example our concerts in Czech Republic got canceled two years in a row. Hopefully we will be able to play there next year and the dark times will be over.

Thomas. At least it’s good for the local bands, being able to get more spots on line-ups of bigger events. Maybe festivals like Ostroda can get a more even mixture of local and international bands next year.

What about your band? Has the pandemic affected you negatively?

Thomas. It was also difficult for us because our saxophonist Bernard Lanis is from France and we had a lot of worries if he could get to our concerts in Germany and Poland. There was a time when he was not allowed to enter Germany and we couldn’t even rehearse. Even fairly recently around February we still had this law. Thankfully it has gotten better and now we’re allowed to travel.

What is the history of reggae and ska in East Germany?

Thomas. Ska took off in East Germany after Messer Banzani was formed in 1989 in Leipzig, even before reunification of Germany. They gave a concert in West Berlin a few months before the wall came down, it was then that people realized that there’s a scene – and demand – for ska in the communist half of Germany. The early 90s after reunification of Germany was a good time for ska, there were a lot of new bands and ska quartets popping up in East Germany. Ska was decently popular among people and a lot of new musicians wanted to play it.

Where does your band fit into this, how did you form?

Jens. Most of our band came to Dresden from West Germany. Only Thomas and Jurgen (bass) are from East Germany. We met there sort of by accident and decided to form a band. The 90s were a crazy time like that.

It’s been 27 years since Yellow Umbrella was formed. How did ska and reggae scenes change in Germany in that time?

Thomas. A lot happened in that time, it went through highs and lows. There was a time when reggae was commercially big, with artists like Seeed, Gentleman and Dr. Ring-Ding.

Jens. A lot of them also played here in Ostroda. The German and Polish reggae scenes have been very interconnected practically since the 90s. For example, our band has visited every major Polish city during our career, some during long tours across Poland. We’ve seen almost all of Poland by now, which is very cool.

Are there any highlights of your career that you are particularly proud of?

Jens. Being in Poland. Seriously. It’s really nice to travel with your music. This afternoon we were walking along the lake and it was such a nice feeling – it is pretty much a vacation for us. We wouldn’t have been here if we were not traveling with our music – bringing us to places that are very nice.

You are a group of seven. How do you organize your work when it comes to writing new songs?

Thomas. Jens writes the songs, writes down the ideas and sends them around. With the modern technology it’s relatively easy.

Jens. It’s fast and easy since I’m the main vocalist and I’m writing the lyrics for myself along with the chords. Then we work on the song together. Sometimes it’s very easy – we play a little and immediately get something we can play. Other times it can take years to finish a song. It took one of them eight years before it was ready. It’s the art of going from composing the song to arranging it and making it sound good.

What are your musical inspirations aside from reggae and ska? Got any favorite artists outside those genres?

Thomas. We are big fans of klezmer music and eastern european music, especially from Balkans and Russia. As for artists, I could name Fanfare Ciocarlia and Giora Feidman as some of our favorites.

Your band is also famous for publishing children’s books, featuring a reggae bunny. Where did this idea come from?

Thomas. We were thinking about doing something for kids for festival in Dresden. We started to play folk songs, kid songs, and reggae style songs. Then we started putting funny costumes on, making funny stuff on stage. Then an idea came to make a story and we needed a protagonist, who we named Boooo. We played like this for three years before someone said that we should write this down.

Jens. Lukasz Rusinek from Paprika Korps does the illustrations for these books. He’s a great friend of ours and one of the best illustrators and animators in reggae scene. Also all of us except Fritz have kids. Me, Thomas and Jurgen have three each.

The most interesting events in Poland on summer. Concerts, Festivals and outdoor events. Jazz, Rock, Reagge, Rap, Hip-Hop, Beer and traditional polish food.

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Ostróda Reggae Festival 2021

Ostróda Reggae Festival 2021 - Report

Ostróda Reggae Festival has always managed to bring its dedicated fanbase together. It was no different this year. And it might be no exaggeration to say that it now consists of four generations of people.

The COVID pandemic that we all continue to struggle with had to leave its mark on this event as well, in terms of attendance, artist line-up and festival organization.

Even though a lot of things were abnormal about this year, ORF continues to be the same festival at its core – full of love, tolerance and environmental awareness.

As per tradition, ORF managed to bring back a lot of artists that had performed there in the past. In fact, one of the festival’s highlight – Yellow Umbrella from Germany – returned after 15 years of absence and managed to completely fill Ostróda Amphitheatre with dancing fans.

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Also in the galleries: Johny Rockers, Dubska, Gutek, The Beat Rootz, Shashamane and the festival’s audience.

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Nigel Kennedy – Summer Jazz Festival Kraków 2021

Nigel Kennedy - "When I am 64"

Summer Jazz Festival Kraków – concert in Kiev Center

Nigel Kennedy once again played in his favorite polish City – Kraków. This time his concert was one of the main parts of Summer Jazz Festival. Starting the festival with such a big name was an excellent choice on the organizers’ part – as usual Kennedy gave a marvellous performance, serving excellent music along with a pinch of good humour. Kiev Cinema, which housed the concert, has once again become Kraków’s center of jazz.

The first thing that got our attention once the artist stepped onto the stage was his footwear – garish yellow Adidas with white soles, contrasting with the remainder of his wardrobe, which was dominated by dark colours. But it soon became clear that these boots were perfectly suited for Nigel’s dynamic performance, full of foot stamps cushioned by the thick soles. The artist did not stop for even a moment, continuously moving across the stage with great fervor.

Nigel Kennedy’s charm had little trouble earning the public’s favor, helped all the more by his strong accent. His fans from Kraków were overjoyed during moments where the musician spoke in Polish language and talked about his love for the city of Kraków. The audience returned the favor with numerous and long standing ovations. A good indicator of love between him and his Polish fans would be the fact that almost all available seats were filled, despite the difficult situation during pandemic.

The motto of this concert, as well as the summer tour it was a part of, was “When I’m 64” – referencing The Beatles. Nigel Kennedy presented a wide variety of his discography – old and new alike. Kennedy also played a few compositions of Krzysztof Komeda, including “My ballad”, as well as Jimmy Hendrix’s “Little wing” and “They can’t take that away from me”. Some songs had the artist abandon his violin in favor of an impressive piano, showcasing his versatility and virtuosity. Kennedy’s band, consisting of incredibly talented musicians, ensured a real musical treat in Kiev Cinema this evening.

Photos from the concert in Kiev Cinema, 10 July 2021:

Summer Jazz Festival Kraków 2021

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10. Lotos Siesta Festival Gdańsk

10th edition of Lotos Siesta Festival

Despite the unusual conditions of sanitary regime, the anniversary edition of Siesta Festival proceeded successfully.

The organizers deserve all the accolades for preparing the festival of such a high level and bringing all the previously announced stars despite all the adversities. They have managed to provide good and safe fun for artists and the audience alike in these trying times. As for us, we regret that we could not have been there on all of the concerts, but what we witnessed more than made up for all the delay that lasted several months.

The musicians must have felt the same, longing for contact with a large concert audience. Teofilo Chantre confessed how deeply moved he was standing on the stage a whole ten months after his previous performance. And Elida… looked like she was ready to explode when she was stepping onto the stage.

The leading theme of this year’s Siesta was tribute to late Cesaria Evora – the artist that managed to bring the wondrous culture of Cape Verde onto the musical saloons of Europe.

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The concert stage saw two hours of concerts given by the modern stars who owe their careers to Cesaria and her trailblazing achievements – Nancy Vieira, Elida Almeida and Lura. Differing musical personalities and styles of singing, but each with the same burning passion. Another guest was Teofilo Chantre – Cesaria’s former song composer, whose concert was received with excitement.

These concerts were full of touching emotions and memories, but also plenty of joy and good fun. The musicians danced and clapped on the stage, encouraging the fans to get up from their seats and do the same – this was everyone’s joint tribute to Cesaria. At one point Lura won a thunderous applause for whistling a part of a song.

We also had a returning artist from Siesta’s very first edition – Yami. Much like the other stars, he expressed joy at being able to return to Poland. While introducing Yami to the public, Marcin Kydryński – the festival’s lead organizer – expressed his fascination in how much the musician evolved over the years. Gushing with energy and joy, Yami struck a phenomenal partnership with his audience. With a wide smile on his face, he told stories behind many of his songs, the emotions he put into them and the closest people to him that he dedicated them to. As per Siesta’s standard, the people gathered in the concert hall spent a bulk of the concert dancing (respecting the safe distance).

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More photos and reports soon 🙂

The most interesting events in Poland on summer. Concerts, Festivals and outdoor events. Jazz, Rock, Reagge, Rap, Hip-Hop, Beer and traditional polish food.

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Festival of Ceramics 2020

Report from Bolesławiec Festival of Ceramics 2020

Despite happening in the shadow of COVID-19 pandemic, Bolesławiec Festival of Ceramics has once again proved to be an exceptional event – not just by Lower Silesian standards, but on nationwide scale. While a lower attendance than that of the past editions was to be expected, the organizers and exhibitors had no reason to complain about shortage of tourists – including those from abroad.

Although the festival is under patronage of local pottery craftsmen, a wide variety of ceramic products from all over Poland were exhibited by representatives of both major businesses and smaller (usually family-run) ones. Stalls with pottery and other handicraft were set up all over Bolesławiec Town Square and the adjoining streets.

The Festival of Ceramics is not all about exihibiting, watching and buying pottery – it is also a big celebration of centuries-old culture and tradition. The trade fair and exhibitions were accompanied by numerous additional events, including the traditional Bolesławiec Antiquities Market.
The arriving tourists also had a free entry to Museum of Ceramics, where one can learn the full breadth of the region’s history and traditions – not just ceramics-related.

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There was no shortage of good music, either. Although the pandemic-related restrictions necessitated a different form of concerts, the organizers managed to provide a safe yet satisfactory way to listen to high quality jazz music. Deserving special attention was Patrycjusz Gruszecki’s quartet and their phenomenal, highly energetic concert.

Patrycjusz Gruszecki Kwartet:

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The most interesting events in Poland on summer. Concerts, Festivals and outdoor events. Jazz, Rock, Reagge, Rap, Hip-Hop, Beer and traditional polish food.

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Falkon v.2.0

It was a weekend full of fantastic experiences! At the 8th-10th November in Lublin took place Falkon Festival.

The main theme of this year’s edition was future and cyberpunk. Thousands of fantasy lovers came to Lublin waiting for the meeting with athorities, workshops and lectures. At Falkon you could meet a lot of characters from your lovely films, anime or cartoons, for example.: Joker, Harley Quinn, John Wick, bandits from “La Casa de Papel” series and Rick and Morty!

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There was a lot of exhibitors’ stands where you can buy e.g. jewelry, home accessories, books and board games. Special place for yourselves had Star Wars fans because there were more than 5 thousands models of heroes and machines from this universe, posters and Star Wars Legion!

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At the main stage took place KOSplay competitions (the winner was Geralt by Blink’s Cos-Cave), concerts, theater’s improvisations, , LARPs, meeting with Grupa Filmowa Darwin and… gladiators’ fight!

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Now we can’t wait for next year’s edition of Falkon Festival!

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Talk about Soul Music

Interview with Durand Jones & The Indications

We had a great pleasure to interview Durand Jones (singer) and Aaron Frazer (drummer) of The Indications band before their concert on the first day of OFF-Festival Katowice.

How would you describe to the unaquainted where the term ‘soul music’ comes from and the relations between this music and its name?

DJ: I wondered for a very long time why did they call this music ‘soul music’, why did they relate it to the part within ourselves that is unexplainable, like spirit. What I came to think of is that black America during the time really didn’t have control over politics, they didn’t have wealth, so they didn’t have power nor education… they didn’t have control over a lot of things. But what they did have control of was their soul inside. And so you go to the States, you see soul food restaurants, you listen to the music like James Brown, who says ‘soul power’. And so I felt that the reason why they call this music ‘soul’ is because they felt an ownership to it, they felt that it was very deep and something really special inside. It’s something that can live with you when you’re sad, it can rejoice you when you are happy, you can go dancing on it, you can console a loved one… It brings about a feeling that comes from no other place than the soul. I feel like our music definietely taps into that space. We talk about love in different ways: platonic love, relationship love, love lost… We also talk about sociopolitical conciousness things – things that we want to change in America, things that we feel really deep inside, that are passionate to us. That’s why I feel they call it ‘soul music’.

Could you list your soul music icons from the 70s?

DJ: I really love what Stevie Wonder was doing in the 70s. I’ve been listening to a lot of his stuff lately, he is someone very impactful to me.

AF: I would also add Curtis Mayfield – a big influence, Smoky Robinson and Eddie Kendricks.

While you’re creating music do you focus more on adapting soul music to modern audiences or do you wish to preserve classic soul sound?

DJ: I think it’s our duty to push it forward. We stand on the shoulders of so many people that came before us. It’s our duty to not only embrace what they have done, but also to push it forward and bring it onto a new level. I feel like that’s what we are trying to do.

When it comes to coming up with new songs and their composition and production, how do you divide your work?

AF: We all bring ideas to the table. It’s primarly Durand, Blake and myself. We help each other shape the ideas. Maybe it starts with just a melody and somebody else has words. Durand may have a notebook with a hook in it, which might make me think of a verse to write. Sometimes somebody comes up with song that’s mostly finished. We do our own writing and we produce our own records – Blake and I produced our last album American Love Call.

Assuming that the five of you need to „pass the ball”, so to speak, between each other, in order to polish a song that you’re working on, have you ever faced the problem where the result was no longer true to the original vision you had?

DJ: I don’t think so. There’s definetely been songs that we worked on that we weren’t feeling at the time, but for me as a songwriter – I don’t throw anything away. I feel like if it’s not useful here and there, then maybe I can just put it in my bag and wait for the right time for it to come back.

AF: We’ve also had songs that start in one place and end up feeling very differently. Maybe the rhythm changes, maybe we try a different tempo…

DJ: Like What I Know About You.

AF: Totally, or Long Way Home. But that’s never been a problem. It’s that sort of fun of working in a group. You wind up arriving at a conclusion that you wouldn’t if you were by yourself.

Soul music can be both blisfull and bitter. As you said, on American Love Call you make forward refrences to current socioeconomic issues in United States. What made you raise your voice on this album?

AF: It’s time to say what you believe. It’s not time for subtelty in the United States right now. There is a real crisis, politically. We are facing crisis globally, environmentally. It feels like if you have any sort of platform, whether you are writing songs and people like them, or maybe you have a lot of Instagram followers – it’s time for all of us to say what we believe and fight for what we can. Time is of the essence.

DJ: There is a total legacy to it – people like Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway. They’ve always been so proactive, speaking their truth, what’s going on in the climate, in the environment. It’s our duty to keep it going forward.

The current crisis is also a crisis of division within the American society. Do you think music could help mend differences?

DJ: It’s one of the things, but what I feel America has to do is really look at the root of their problems and why it’s so divided, why we’re so torn apart. Once we can really sit down and talk about that like civil human beings, maybe we can get someplace. I do believe that music can be a key to help us get there, though.

Considering that you have much more experience now, was production of American Love Call different from your first album?

AF: Definitely. There were a couple of big factors. We finally had a budget to work with, so there were things that we could accomplish, like having a string section, that we never even dreamed about while doing our first record. But we have also learned a lot from doing that first record on our own. Whether it was arranging harmonies or coming up with string melodies or just overall orchestration of parts, we were able to put those experiences to use and translate what was in our head to what we’re actually listening back to. It is a very special feeling to be able to do that.

We are very happy to be the first country in Eastern Europe to welcome you. Do you wish to carry on spreading soul music further on the east?

DJ: We would love to go all over the world with it, it would be amazing. It’s been very fun. Poland is cool, I dig it.

The most interesting events in Poland on summer. Concerts, Festivals and outdoor events. Jazz, Rock, Reagge, Rap, Hip-Hop, Beer and traditional polish food.

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