Poland's Chłopcy Kontra Basia spin original folk-tale lyrics and weave them with voice, double-bass and percussion. Oj Tak! leads you along a cake-crumb trail to an irresistibly surreal world.
'this intriguing new Polish band match tradition with experiment...
engaging, dramatic and acrobatic'
4****stars, The Guardian
Chłopcy Kontra Basia: Oj Tak! (Oh Yeah!)
Basia Derlak's silken voice weaves its course above deep double bass and hushed shuffling drums on this stylish debut from the Polish trio, Chłopcy Kontra Basia. Thematic material is drawn from folk history, jazz tradition and the contemporary alternative scene in Kraków and Warsaw.
'Jazz flute? From a folky Polish trio? Oh yeah!'
4****stars, Songlines - Top Of The World
The band's name translates as 'Boys Against Basia' and features wordplay around the double bass (kontrabas). This reflects the line-up: headstrong singer Basia fronts the band gently guiding things towards an educated folk edge while Marcin and Tomasz bring up the backline with their jazz outlook. Basia studied classical piano and clarinet, only to decide to put down her instruments after ten years of hard work. Concerned she was becoming a musician who merely performed the work of others without having found her own authentic and original voice, Basia took a break from music and turned towards comparative cultural studies. As fate would have it her brave step away from music allowed her the space to observe the need for a contemporary artist who voices the folk music of Poland in new, modern settings. Basia pinpoints this discovery to a moment of enlightenment she had when travelling in Bulgaria. Upon enjoying performances of traditional ballads from villagers in the Pirin mountain range, Basia was asked to perform a Polish folk song in exchange. Seeing the irony of her position as a tourist who was thirsty for foreign music but lacking knowledge of her own cultural heritage and folk repertoire, she immediately knew what to do. Basia returned to Poland, moved to cultural hub Kraków and advertised for band members.
'fun, refreshing and immaculately executed'
The Independent On Sunday
As Basia puts it herself, this is a band that lives in a 'modern reality but are fascinated by disappearing sounds'. Traditional Polish forms that have inspired the trio, such as mazurek, oberek and kujawiak, can all be detected in the tracks heard on this album. But the band's energy runs much deeper than a simple exercise in folk revision. They embrace the aesthetic of Polish folk set in a jazz tone, but also author their own rich imagery and invented quirky fairy-tales via their inimitable lyrical voice. 'Mam Ja Męża ' tells of a young woman forced into marriage and weighing up the benefits of poisoning her husband with a deadly viper. 'Oj Tak!' is about a young woman who is stood up by a mystical god who had promised to meet her at a river bank. 'Krzywa Noga' tells of a bow-legged girl who pines for an understanding lover. 'Kasia' is a melancholy tale of a girl who casts a spell to protect her boyfriend from his unavoidable death. As the Grim Reaper creeps near she lays her love down in an unbroken circle of poppy seeds to keep him from harm. Upon discovering his daughter locked in an embrace with the damned young man, her father casts the seeds askance inviting death to seize the unlucky victim. 'Bociek' is about three birds: a stork, a crow and a fortune-telling cuckoo. 'O Martusi Pchełce' is about an oddly matched couple: a man as big as a bear and a woman as small as a flea. Many of the metaphors are related to traditional folk tales, but also carve out Chłopcy Kontra Basia's irresistibly surreal and individual world of imagination.
'the songs mull over poisoning a husband with a viper
and being stood up by a river god' 3***stars, FT.com
Chłopcy Kontra Basia first came to the attention of Riverboat Records via our Battle of the Bands online competition, where artists can submit a track to be considered for a quarterly draw. Upon hearing the entrancing minimalist track 'Jerzy' we knew Chłopcy Kontra Basia were something special. Eighteen months of conversations and creations later, we held in our hands the full length Chłopcy Kontra Basia album that we proudly present to you here.
These days you'll find Chłopcy Kontra Basia playing at art-house clubs in Kraków, filming their latest kooky music video, researching sacred choral harmonies or experimenting with percussion innovations like the futujara, a multi-key version of the Slovakian fujara pipe promoted by Siberian multi-instrumentalist Vladiswar Nadishana.
Chłopcy Kontra Basia: Wierczerza
Chłopcy Kontra Basia: 'Oj Tak'
Chłopcy kontra Basia would like to thank: ART2 Music and people responsible for the production of the album - Andrzej Karp and his Team (Masztal and Marian) and Andrzej Rewak. Big thanks to Andrzej Święs for inspiring ideas and borrowing his doublebass for our session. Thanks to Mariusz Obijalski for his help and suggestions which made 'Wieczerza' as it is. Thanks to Krzysztof Podsiadło for his impact on our general sound.
I want to thank all Polish village musicians and folk artists who I have met for the inspirtion and their wisdom. My grandparents for genes. Midwife Karolina for her strong arms. Agnieszka i Mateusz Niwińscy, Ania Grochola, Ania Walkowiak, Piwnica Śpiewu Tradycyjnego, Piotr Filonowicz and my Friends from Teatr Linia Nocna for collective exploiting our throats. My teachers - Krzysztof Weresiński Zbigniew Woźniak, Tadeusz Konador, Michał Kulenty, Ewa Kozicka for sharing their knowledge. Tomek, Pola, my Parents, Sister, Friends and You - just for being.
I thank my Parents and Brothers, Kamil Kouch (Studio Kulka) for his photographs and for his permanent being ready to help and Marian Pawlik for his priceless support, inspiration and the will to share his huge knowledge.
I would love to thank many people, without who I wouldn't be the person I am: my Mother for her faith and supporting me in my life choices, Sister for sincere talks, Basia for her love and for Pola. All musicians I have met and who helped me to develop ndash primarily: Marcin Cichocki, Marcin Pendowski, Maciek Matysiak, Marcin Kajper, Janek Smoczyński, Marcin Ułanowski, Hubert Gasiul Mariusz Obijalski, Krzysztof Pacan, Michał Marecki and MoMo, Klezmafour and Bednarska Music School in Warsaw for first skills I gained and inspiration to improve them. Jola Kossakowska, who once borrowed me 200 PLN for boots. Avedis Zildjian for inventing an alloy for cymbals in 1623 r. Many nameless people who invented the rest of drum kit. I would like to dedicate this album to my daughter Pola.
We thank the Chełm town for support.
Thanks to Karuzela for videos.
And thank you to Anna Powierza for photos.