Doing something probably nobody has done before, Polish duo Maniucha & Ksawery fuse traditional folk songs from Ukraine with jazz/avant improvisation on double bass.
In their repertoire, there are songs about spring and harvest, love and weddings, carols and lullabies, stories about nature and human life – all found in the Polesia region that starts in Eastern Poland and goes between Ukraine and Belarus up to western Russia.
Maniucha Bikont has visited the Ukrainian part of this region many times, searching for “old singers to listen to their music, to live with them for a short while, to be able to understand the world in which these songs were conceived,” as she explained.
But when she teamed up with an excellent contrabass improviser Ksawery Wójciński, it was clear a museum work is not how she wants to apply her experiences. Anchored to those old Ukrainian music treasures, they let their imagination free and set to find “our own interpretation, creating our own universe”.
In May this year, they received a special prize at the New Tradition folk competition in Warsaw (their concert was among the best live experiences I’ve had this season). A free recording session was part of the award, and over the last months they prepared and recorded material for their debut album, “Oj borom borom”.
What Maniucha i Ksawery still lack is money to release it on a CD with a proper booklet and everything. Hence they launched a crowdfunding campaign, and just crossed a 50 percent mark – with still one month to go. So while they’ve kindly shared four excelent tracks already, hopefully we’ll hear more soon.
In the meantime, you might also try two other and very different groups Maniucha is also a member of: a women a capella sextet Dziczka and a folk orchestra called Tęgie Chłopy, which could be translated as Stout Lads.
Maniucha i Ksawery on Soundcloud, Facebook, YouTube.