This Is My Life

6 July 2016

Magda Brudzińska in an interview with Grzegorz Słącz

Tell me – what is this Colorovanka?
It’s an album launched a month ago by Magda Brudzińska. And I am Magda Brudzińska. It all started with the Tischner Festival in 2011. When I realised I can actually perform with a larger than usual line-up, I sat down with Bartek Szczepański and together we came up with the concept for Colorovanka. We asked our musician friends to join us on the project; there are usually five of us, but we can expand the group to eight. The basics are vocals and electronics, but there is also accordion, viola, keyboards, bass guitar and percussion – it’s a colourful and eclectic mix. There’s Klezmer, as well as Serbian, Macedonian, Polish music… Colorovanka is a blend of everything I find and love in Kazimierz – all those styles, colours and genres.

It’s a bit of a reflection of your life with music.
I’m a fully educated and active classical musician, I play the viola. Of course I know all the jokes about violas and blondes… But I have also always sung – apparently I was singing before I started talking… At various stages of my life, music has been about more than classical, sung poetry, blues and jazz – it’s also about heavy metal, doom metal, thrash rock and punk. Here in Kazimierz, I have my Quartet Klezmer Trio, with a traditional, acoustic line-up of accordion, double bass, viola and voice. As the name suggests, we play Ashkenazi music, because this style, Yiddish and Kazimierz are very important in my life. But in reality I put everything I like into playing – poetry, and jazz…

What does Klezmer music really mean nowadays?
It’s difficult to explain to people that there are no more genuine Klezmer musicians – apart from Leopold Kozłowski, my Yiddish teacher. We often argue... He says: What’s this you’re singing? Why are you singing this jazz here? You’re supposed to sing like this! And I say: Maestro, only you can sing like that, because only you’re a genuine Klezmer musician. And so when you sing, it’s honest. For me, music is important, and I play it as Klezmer should be played…

From the heart?
Yes! Mit Harc un mit neszome!

Where does your passion for Kazimierz come from?
It’s my place, ever since I first came to Kraków years ago. It’s full of little galleries and shops with arts and crafts, clubs playing underground music, there’s death metal, jazz, shanties, Klezmer music good and bad, you can dance to Latino sounds. This creative eclecticism, intertwining so many different things, was a real inspiration for me when I came up with the concept for the album. It’s reflected in our combinations of acoustic instruments and electronics. I’m more on the acoustic side of things, while Bartek Szczepański – we’ve known each other since university – focuses on electronics. And of course he’s behind the arrangements. It’s because of him that I play the entire orchestra on my viola on Colorovanka.

And there’s the Balkan sounds…
In the mid-1990s, everyone in Kazimierz was playing Ajde Jano. Where did this come from? You’ll probably have to ask the guys from Kroke (laughs). For me it’s all about rhythm: in 5, in 7, in 9 and in 11; it flows differently. I’m a musician and music is my life; of course I love Brahms, Bruch, Shostakovich and Bach, but I love ethno music, folk, roots music just as much – everything that’s deep within us.

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