KROKE / Poland

22.08.2020  21:00  concert  Forty Kleparz

One of prime bands of the European world music stage. They draw inspiration from ethnic music of the whole world, always reinforcing their compositions with proprietary improvisations. In this way they’ve built their own style, running over boundaries, forms, and time. 

 

“From the beginning, the idea behind the band was the continuous search for something new also in ourselves”, as the musicians admit. “We just wanted our music to be simply called Kroke Music. Improvisation was of prime concern for klezmers. Improvisation has come into the music of Kroke right at the very start, and has remained its key element. Our improvisation is a particular portal, through which the worlds of our souls wander straight to those who are eager to get to know those worlds”, the musicians explain.

Kroke (“Kraków” in Yiddish) is a band that was set up in 1992 by 3 friends: Tomasz Kukurba, Jerzy Bawoł, and Tomasz Lato. As graduates of the Kraków Academy of Music, but also seekers, the artists did not shun experimentation with jazz and contemporary music. Initially mostly associated with klezmer works, the band currently oscillates around various genres. They draw inspiration from ethnic music of the whole world, always reinforcing their compositions with proprietary improvisations. In this way they’ve built their own style, running over boundaries, forms, and time. Kroke is also one of the first bands that took its music out to the audiences. You could meet the musicians in the streets and clubs of the Kazimierz district of Kraków: they played compositions that some might not have known at all, and others that kindled memories of the world that had long fallen into oblivion. It is precisely there that you could hear the works that made their way to the first music cassette Kroke published at their own expense in 1993. Kroke often played in Ariel a restaurant Kate Capshaw, wife of Stephen Spielberg working on Schindler’s List in Kraków at the time, visited. On another day, she brought her husband to the concert. The director quickly appreciated the huge talent of Kroke, and invited the band to Jerusalem to perform at the Survivors Reunion organised for the surviving members of the Schindler’s list. From that powerful moment, everything became more profound. That was when the band was really born. “We received a particular musical blessing from those people, some of whom had been klezmers” musicians recall. The 20 years of the band have been marked by hundreds of concerts in more than 30 countries, prestigious international prizes, over 20 released recordings, and cooperation with artists including Nigel Kennedy, Anna Maria Jopek, Edyta Geppert, and the Mongolian vocalist Urna Chahar-Tugchi.

Tomasz Kukurba – – viola, percussions, flute, vocals
Jerzy Bawoł – accordion
Tomasz Lato – double bass