On Dec 2, 2019, during the concert at Teatr Roma in Warsaw, Anna Maria Jopek received the platinum award (seventh in her career!) for “Ulotne” [Elusive], her album with Branford Marsalis. When picking up the award AMJ thanked Branford and all the artists who made “Elusive” happen. She also thanked the audience for the continuous support, whatever artistic challenges she chooses to embrace.
Not only did she sing on the soundtrack, but she also made an appearance in one of the episodes. The recording took place in Dublin two years ago. The information must have been kept secret till now for fear of spoilers for the show, which is one of the most viewed productions worldwide.
AMJ, teamed up with Song of the Goat Theatre, improvises on a melody that was written specifically for the series by composer Maciej Rychły, with Gaelic lyrics by Alicja Bral. Anna is accompanied by Rychły on sierszeńki (a type of bagpipes) and the theatre’s songster Łukasz Wójcik, under the directorial tutelage of Grzegorz Bral. The audio recording was captured by Tadeusz Mieczkowski at S4 Studio in Warsaw. The video footage was recorded at film studios in Dublin.
“Nothing in my life ever happens by accident,” says AMJ. “In 2014, enthralled by the international Song of the Goat theatre formation, I asked its creator Grzegorz Bral if I could join his crew for a workshop. Consequently, I was drafted for half a year’s worth of rehearsals and a month’s worth of a very intensive work at Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. An amazing time in my life, a time of coming back to white singing and living in a commune (we were living and working together all the time). It was there, at Fringe, where the ‘Return to the Voice’ oratory, with Maciej Rychły’s fantastic music, was recorded by BBC— and it was specifically that recording that, unexpectedly, after two years, caught the eye the creators of ‘Vikings’,” adds Anna.
AMJ reported to the team work because it has always piqued her artistic interest. Her solo performances limited to two songs, where she could wholly demonstrate her style of singing, which is based on the ultimate freedom of improvisation.
“The news of the invitation to make an appearance in the show found me far away from the memories of my collaboration with SotGT. Apparently, Michael Hirst, the originator of ‘Vikings,’ saw the documentary about us that BBC made at Fringe. It happened two, maybe even three years after Edinburgh. I was just finishing studio work on “Ulotne,” my album with Branford Marsalis. Shortly after, I got on the plane to Dublin and made my way to the film shoot with Maciek Rychły and Grzegorz Bral. It brought back the memories of Fringe in Edinburgh and half a year’s worth of rehearsals in Wrocław. What an intensive and fascinating chapter in my life, it was. Grzegorz is a charismatic creator, he had a crew of versatile artists—songsters, yogis, acrobats, dancers, and actors at the same time. Never before had I met more talented and universal artists. Every day I learned from, and got delighted by, them. Maciej Rychły wrote poignant songs for 12 songsters. We played ‘Return to the Voice’ at a cathedral in Edinburgh for a month, virtually night by night. I had never worked that intensely, I would never have thought I could have such a cast-iron larynx and strong psyche—because it was really powerful stuff, that play. After a month of such work, I realized my true strength,” recalls Ania.
“To the news of ‘Vikings,’ I reacted enthusiastically, but I react enthusiastically to most of the invitations. I didn’t know this show because I don’t have a TV. It was only after my colleagues from the States told me they watched this series (we were just recording ‘Ulotne’) that I realized it must have been big stuff. The film shoot at gigantic halls in Dublin had stunned me.
I had never seen such a huge and masterminded production. A hundred people whipping around like a house on fire and twenty or so cameras working imperceptibly. And that production cycle!! The recording took place two years ago, and we already knew we appear in an episode which will be aired in December 2019. It had felt so abstract back then. As we’re talking today, I’m on tour at the Blue Note clubs in Asia,” ends AMJ.
AMJ is currently on tour in Japan and China. Next spring, she embarks on another tour with her premiere project “The Expanses.”
Following the announcement of her performance in “Vikings” and still during her concert tour in Asia—Anna Maria Jopek is revealing the details of her next project. In spring 2020, she embarks on a concert tour in 9 Polish cities. AMJ will team up with the Polish artists she’s admired for years.
The grandeur and pureness of their playing have made them a true champions league. AMJ and Piotr Wojtasik, the project’s musical director and orchestrator, will be accompanied on stage by Dominik Wania, Maciej Sikała, Atom String Quartet, Robert Kubiszyn, Paweł Dobrowolski and Piotr Nazaruk.
“’Przestworza’ [The Expanses] as a title came to my mind almost immediately. Yet even before the title was possible, it had all begun with what is by far the most important element: People, the dream lineup. I managed to invite the artists whose playing and stature in music embody everything I believe in and unceasingly yearn for. I’m looking forward to finding out the equation that the music will write for this human- and repertoire configuration. And I know—I have a strong feeling about this, as strong as my need to stay free—that it’s going to be different than anything that came ever before.”
“Przestworza” [The Expanses] will see the band perform a set of premiere music, created specifically for these on-stage encounters. We’ll get thrilled with traditional phrases and themes, along with brand new songs. Acoustically, broadly, spatially at some of Poland’s most beautiful concert venues.
08/03/2020 – SZCZECIN, Filharmonia w Szczecinie im M. Karłowicza 13/03/2020 – POZNAŃ, Sala Ziemi Poznań Congress Center 14/03/2020 – ŁÓDŹ, Klub Wytwórnia 16/03/2020 – GDYNIA, Teatr Muzyczny 17/03/2020 – BYDGOSZCZ, Filharmonia Pomorska 23/03/2020 – WROCŁAW, Narodowe Forum Muzyki 27/03/2020 – BIELSKO-BIAŁA, Bielskie Centrum Kultury 28/03/2020 – KATOWICE, NOSPR 06/04/2020 – KRAKÓW, Opera Krakowska
This November, Anna Maria Jopek and her band are heading back to Asia! On Nov 1, 7 pm, they will perform at Matsukata Hall in Kobe and then hold a series of concerts at the legendary Blue Note clubs in Tokyo, Shanghai, and Beijing.
Nov 4 (5 & 8 pm) – Blue Note Tokyo Nov 7 (7.30 pm) – Blue Note Shanghai Nov 8 (7.30 pm & 22:00) – Blue Note Shanghai Nov 9 (7.30 pm) – Blue Note Beijing Nov 10 (6.30 pm) – Blue Note Beijing
AMJ will be joined on stage by Krzysztof Herdzin (piano), Robert Kubiszyn (bass), and Piotr Nazaruk (flutes, zither, supporting vocals).
“Once in Japan I moved Polish folk tune ‘Hej Przeleciał Ptaszek’ [A Little Bird Flew By] into pentatonic scale. It all worked out. So many paths, beliefs, viewpoints, ways of seeing, hearing and sensing the world — and always one Music, a language overcoming divisions.” AMJ
Anna Maria Jopek has been invited by Jazz Radio to perform in Berlin again. The concerts are set for December 14 and 15, at Ellington Hotel (The Orange Room). Tickets are already on sale on https://jazzradio.net/konzerte/.
AMJ will be joined on stage by Robert Kubiszyn (bass), Paweł Dobrowolski (percussion), and Krzysztof Herdzin (piano). A band of friends and passionate musicians. They’re also frontmen of their own formidable bands.
“The freedom and boundlessness of imagination is what I love most about those who I stand on stage with,” says Jopek. And she addes quickly, “Only fulfilled artists can be genuine givers. In music, we work on open heart.”
Come see Anna Maria Jopek and get your copy of ”Ulotne” [Elusive] signed. 13th April 2019, 15:00 Disk Union Tokyo – The meeting will be hosted by journalist Peter Barakan More… 14th April 2019, 19:00 Haremame Club “Anna Maria Jopek meets Makoto Ozone. Talk about musical journey through cultures” More…
The album, inspired by Polish folk tunes, is available on CD and on vinyl. Anna Maria Jopek will be making her way to Japan for a promo tour in April 2019. “My strong bond with Japan is thanks to Chopin, no kidding,” says Jopek. “The Japanese sensitivity to Polish scales and the Polish spirit of music has given me, a Pole singing in Polish, the opportunity to become listened to and understood to a greater degree than anywhere else in the world. I truly wish that “Ulotne” would give my Japanese listeners as much joy as signing beside one of the greatest masters of our times had given me.”
“Czas kobiety” [A Woman’s Time] has been released worldwide
Today marks the world digital premiere of “Czas Kobiety” by AMJ and Robert Kubiszyn. Let us remember that the recording is the soundtrack to Leszek Mądzik’s spectacle at Teatr Stary in Lublin. This is AMJ’s first CD without any words whatsoever. The concept ideally fits into her research on sound and exploration of new ways of singing. The project is released online today. DOWNLOAD
“Throughout Mądzik’s oeuvre, woman is a phenomenon that unites the two driving forces of theatre–the erotic and the sacred–but most predominately one of the keys to understanding the phenomenon of the human fate.” (Jaroslaw Cymerman for Teatr Stary in Lublin)
“I long for love. For meeting a woman. In my theatre, I touch the pure affection for a woman, which provides one with a sense of security.” (Leszek Mądzik
“Working with Leszek, I had placed boundless trust in him. For him, I had learned again how to be born and how to sing my finiteness. My voice, a pure stream of sound, had become my body, and my body had become my voice.” (AMJ)