Krakow Music: Saturday 20 Feb. – Sunday 28 Feb. 2016

Krakow Music: Karl CulleyPICK OF THE WEEK

Sunday 28th February


Piękny Pies
(ul. Bożego Ciała 9. 20:30/10 zł)

Transplanted Brit Karl Culley has released four albums of the kind of folk that is rare these days. While he clearly has been influenced by the seminal innovators of British folk – Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, and early John Martyn spring immediately to mind – his songs are no retro homage to the past. Influential magazines like Mojo and the folk bible Rock ‘N Reel routinely award his records 4 out of 5 stars, and his latest, last year’s Stripling, is no exception.

Another Cracovian transplant – this time from Alaska – James Haddock Jr. will also be playing. His songs are of an altogether darker shade, steeped in Americana and the Deep South. The differences between these two excellent singer/songwriters should serve to balance the night nicely.

But as always in our fair city, no matter your tastes, there is almost certainly something for you coming up…

Saturday 20th February


Teatr Barakah
(ul. Paulinska 28. 21:00/10 zł)

Guitarist Ula (Urszula) Stosio will be performing a solo guitar recital, but not in the traditional sense. She is a master of looping and delay technology, with a fantastic touch for muted staccato lines intertwined with a David Gilmour-esque spaciness. A must for the modern guitarist. And cheap!!

Saturday 20th February


Kwadrat Klub
(Stanisława Skarżińskiego 1. 18:30/85 zł)

Since 1998, German thrash and power metal merchants Primal Fear have released 11 studio albums, including the new, Spinal Tap-ishly titled Rulebreaker. Brainstorm, also from Germany, have them beat in both longevity (1989) and ridiculous new album titles (Scary Creatures, also their 11th, and I swear I’m not making these names up.) Canada’s Striker have only been around since 2007, and sadly have no embarrassing album titles to ridicule, but they come with a reputation as a killer live act that should have the veterans looking over their shoulders.

Saturday 20th February


with O.S.T.R./ Ten Typ Mes Live Band/ Małpa/ DGE/ Quebonafide/ Mielzky
Klub Studio
(Witolda Budryka 4. 20:00/79 zł)

To the non-native, Polish hip hop can sound… well, odd, at the very least. It certainly is unique, and if that’s at all intriguing, here’s your chance to witness some of the genre’s better and lesser known talents of one of the country’s very popular subcultures.

Wednesday 24th February


Piękny Pies
(ul. Bożego Ciała 9. 20:00/15 zł)

The most unique musical experience available this week, hands down. As the name suggests, their music is rooted in the traditional sounds of the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland. But that’s really just the beginning – theirs is a melting pot that includes free jazz, classical music from India, and the impressive mastery of the unique art of throat singing by vocalist Anna Nacher, to name but a few of the elements involved. The Magic Carpathians Project have performed at prestigious venues like the Knitting Factory in NYC and the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Sure, it can be a bit dissonant and a little light on “songs” in the Western sense, but there’s no one else doing this.

Thursday 25th February


Klub Studenicki Żaczek
(aleja 3 Maja 5. 19:30/15 zł)

Erase all thoughts of Björk from your mind. Icelandic singer Myrra Rós has the kind of gorgeous voice more reminiscent of Brits like Beth Orton or (the admittedly incomparable) Sandy Denny, even more impressive when she manages to do so while singing in her native tongue, which she does some of the time. The music is acoustic and understated – all is in service to the melody, and her wonderful voice.

Michał Kowalonek is best known as the singer who replaced Artur Rojek in the legendary Polish band Myslovitz. So far, they’ve yet to truly gel together – the one new album they’ve recorded (2013’s 1.577) suffered from trying too hard to appeal to the marketplace at the expense of an individual voice, but Kowalonek is a talented singer/songwriter in his own right.

Saturday 27th February


Piękny Pies
(ul. Bożego Ciała. 20:00/25 zł)

These relative newcomers formed only 3 years ago in Poznan, but managed to create enough buzz from two self-released EPs that a deal with Sony Poland was inked and the service of famed Polish alternative superstar producer Marcin Bors was enlisted. The resulting Strangers, Lovers album was released late last year to great acclaim. If you like Vampire Weekend in theory, but find them a bit too self-consciously hipster, Terrific Sunday is worth a look.

Saturday 27th February


Klub Zaścianek
(Jozefa Rostafińskiego 4. 20:00/35 zł)

Not for the easily offended, Little Big are kind of the Glitch-Hip-Hop-Dubstep equivalent of punk’s Pussy Riot; a group of angry anti-Putin Russians making a big, reactionary (albeit insubstantial) noise about anything that annoys them, or in the hope that they will annoy you. But, they ARE funny. Their signature song, “Everyday I’m Drinking” is undeniably catchy (as well as succeeding at the whole annoying angle), and other titles include such future classics as “Give Me Your Money” and “Big Dick.” So, you know, they probably have a long career ahead, no?

Sunday 28th February


Klub Studio
(Witolda Budryka 4. 20:00/45-55 zł)

Coma have been called the ‘Polish Pearl Jam,’ but as always such generalizations are misleading. While grunge definitely figures into the mix, there’s also the influence of a lot of classic and progressive rock, as well as the distinctive vocals of Piotr Rogucki setting them apart. They have a reputation for great, intense live shows, and their most recent studio offering,  2013’s Don’t Set Your Dogs On Me, was their second English language album.

Also well worth mentioning is the annual SHANTIES FESTIVAL, which takes place from Thursday the 25th until Sunday the 28th, at all times of day and night, mostly at Rotunda and Klub Studio. Other venues being utilized veer from the intimate (the wonderful Stary Port tavern) to the awe-inspiring (St. Katherine’s Church) to the absurdly inappropriate (Hala Wisła). But if you love the songs of the sea, or are perhaps just curious what lies beyond “what do you do with a drunken sailor?”, this is a chance to experience well over a hundred artists from the world over in one of the biggest festivals of it’s kind anywhere. And it’s here – in landlocked Kraków.

One thought on “Krakow Music: Saturday 20 Feb. – Sunday 28 Feb. 2016

  • February 21, 2016 at 3:44 am

    Wonderfully comprehensive. So many possibilities. Gurall’s spot-on writing always invites the reader in to discover, as I did, some excellent music, especially Ula Stosio and The Magic Carpathians from this piece. Glad to see a weekly column in KP devoted to the music scene in Krakow, a city teeming with talents.


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