JANUSZ PRUSINOWSKI KOMPANIA
Janusz Prusnowski Kompania (formerly: Janusz Prusinowski Trio) is a group of musicians who cultivate the music traditions of their teachers – village masters Jan Lewandowski, Kazimierz Meto, Józef Zaraś, Piotr and Jan Gaca, Tadeusz Kubiak, and others. They are also an avant-garde band with their own characteristic sound and language of improvisation. They combine music with dance and the archaic with the modern. Their tours and concerts incorporate educational activity, both in Poland and abroad.
Kompania’s unique style is the result of their attempt to find new ways of interpreting the most important elements of village music from central Poland. It brings together mazurkas – sung, played, danced, improvised– and modern man. What new quality can be given to archaic and seemingly simple melodies and rhythms without resorting to trendy sample mixing? Where is the source of multi-layered rhythm, which is never even, yet always perfectly precise? What is the source of these extraordinary melodies, challenging the equal temperament? It turns out that the traditional music of Polish villages can be a reference point for a variety of genres. It is reminiscent of Chopin in its melodic pattern and the use of rubato, shares a love of improvisation with blues and jazz. It is evocative of contemporary music in its tone and shows the expressiveness of rock music. It is able to connect the East and the West, the North and the South, engaging in a dialogue with musical traditions of near and remote countries.
Dance makes music visible, tangible and meaningful – thus, dancers are a natural addition to mazurkas. Apart from concerts, Kompania’s music can be heard at the parties of the village and urban Dance Clubs. The band also runs various music and dance workshops. It is a source of pride that many novices started their adventure with Polish music, learning to play the fiddle, the drum or to dance thanks to Janusz Prusinowski Kompania.
Between 2008 and 2012, the band performed in most European countries, Asia, Canada, the USA (including Carnegie Hall and Chicago Symphony Center) – and of course Poland. Besides playing concerts of traditional Polish music, the band prepared a special repertoire for “The village roots of Frédéric Chopin’s music” with pianist Janusz Olejniczak. In 2012, Kompania started a unique project “Kujawy” with three masters of Polish music: Tadeusz Kubiak, Tomasz Stańko, Janusz Olejniczak, and a group of singers led by Ewa Grochowska. The group also performed with Michał Urbaniak, Artur Dutkiewicz and Alim Qasimov. In October 2012 Janusz Prusinowski Kompania performed at the prestigious world music fair – WOMEX 2012 in Thessaloniki. In 2013, they spent a full month in the USA giving close to 30 concerts, including in Kennedy Center in Washington, at the European Jazz Festival in Los Angeles, and the Richmond Folk Music Festival. Having seduced American audience with mazurkas, they reached for Germany, France, Benelux, Great Britain, Croatia and several other countries. Wherever they go, they always leave behind dedicated lovers of wild Polish melodies. They also returned to Womex (Cardiff 2013) with the project “Wild Music of the Heart of Poland” created to present Polish traditional music performed by young groups to the international audience.
In 2014, Kompania, together with eminent Polish singers (Ewa Grochowska, Justyna Piernik, Maniucha Bikont, Kaja Prusinowska, Adam Strug) and the group of the Turkish vocalist Muazez Ozacar, prepared a special concert to celebrate the Turkish Year – “Exploring the Connections”. Its premiere in Izmir was recorded and released on DVD. The members of Janusz Prusinowski Kompania were also involved in various events related to Oskar Kolberg’s Year. Kolberg’s collections of Polish village music remain their sources of inspiration. The group has initiated and coordinates the Kolberg Academy, educational projects for children and “Schools of Tradition” focused on village music and dance.
In 2008 the band released “Mazurkas”, an album which received rave reviews, followed in 2010 by their second album “Heart”, awarded the Folk Record of the Year by the Polish Radio. In 2013, Kompania recorded the album entitled “Knee-deep in Heaven”, co-released by the prestigious German label Oriente. In December 2018, the band presented their newest album “In the Footsteps”, created in cooperation with the well-known label Buda Musique.
In 2014, the leader of the band, Janusz Prusinowski was awarded the Bronze Medal for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis. In 2015, he received the annual prize of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and was nominated by the Regional Council of Mazovia for the C.K Norwid prize in the Music category.
Played at (among others)…
WOMEX World Music Expo 2012 in Thessaloniki, Greece
POLAND Colours of Poland Festival, Łódź Crossroads Festival, Kraków Ethno Port Festival, Poznań Globaltica Festival, Gdynia ISPA Conference, Wrocław Open’er Festival, Gdańsk Ludwig van Beethoven – The Easter Festival, Warsaw Mazurkas of the World Festival, Warsaw (with Michał Urbaniak, Tomasz Stańko, and many others) Narol Arte Festival NOSPR in Katowice Song of Our Roots Festival in Jarosław Sounds of North Festival, Gdańsk
USA Carnegie Hall, New York Chicago Symphony Center Chicago World Music Festival DROM, New York European Jazz @ UCLA, Los Angeles Folk Dance Center & Center for World Music, San Diego Kennedy Center, Washington DC Landfall Arts Festival, Cedar Rapids, IA Lily Pads, Rhode Island Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, Bloomington, IN Madison World Music Festival University of Michigan Yoshi’s, San Francisco
EUROPE Bockkeller – Wiener Volksliedwerk, Austria De Centrale, Belgium Gooikorts Festival, Belgium Espace Senghor, Etterbeek, Belgium Ethnoambient Salona Festival, Croatia Colours of Ostrava Festival, Czech Republic Viljandi Parimusmuusika Festival, Estonia Kaustinen World Music Festival, Finland Sommelo Ethno Music Festival, Finland Altonale Festival, Germany folkBaltica Festival, Germany Martin-Gropius-Bau, Germany TFF Rudolstadt, Germany Rasa Music, Holland Corso Polonia Festival, Rome, Italy Taca Dancer! Emilia Romagna Folk Dance Festival, Italy Court of Justice of the European Union, Luxembourg Chişinău Organ Hall, Moldova Forde Festival, Norway (with Janusz Olejniczak) Andanças Festival, Portugal Muzeul Taranului Roman, Romania Festival in Murcia, Spain Korrö Folkmusikfestival, Sweden
REST OF THE WORLD The Mugam Center, Azarbajian (with Alim Qasimov) Surrey Fusion Festival, Canada Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Canada Tbilisi State Conservatory, Georgia Izmir European Jazz Festival, Turkey Soundscapes From Poland Festival, Istanbul, Turkey Festival in Hue, Vietnam (with Artur Dutkiewicz)