Adam Baruch, The Jerusalem Post, 10.06.2007


Last night I went to hear a concert by the Polish Jazz Superstar, singer Anna Maria Jopek (AMJ), at the Tel Aviv Opera House. I also had an opportunity to talk to the sweet lady and thank her for the wonderful musical experience she bestowed on the public. Only when we exchanged the traditional Polish hug, did I realize how small and fragile her body was, in complete contrast to the immense talent it embodies – a living proof of the victory of mind over body. An enchanted evening…

Anna Maria Jopek - “Tel Aviv Opera House, June 8, 2007”

It takes a combination of factors to bring into being a truly great Artist. First comes the talent – the absolutely necessary ingredient without which Art does not a priori exist. But talent is not enough. It needs to be completed by many other components like natural intelligence, education, experience, open-mindedness and sharp sensitivity. Polish singer / composer / lyricist Anna Maria Jopek (AMJ) is incredibly lucky to posses all of the above and more, which when combined and amalgamated into her personality, create a truly amazing Artist personality of rare quality.

When I talked to AMJ just minutes before she stepped on the huge stage of the Tel Aviv Opera House, she confessed to be intimidated by the prestigious venue. Indeed it takes a lot of courage to face a large crowd in a foreign country, especially in an intimate setting when supported just by a trio. However, the minute she appeared on the stage, the intimidation seemed to melt away gradually and as the audience’s response grew warmer by the minute, so did the singer’s self-confidence.

There is nothing easy about AMJ’s music as it is and for this concert she purposely selected a set, which constantly challenged both her performing abilities and the audience’s intellect. Her music – mostly composed by her or her husband / musical soul mate Marcin Kydrynski – is a unique combination of Jazz and World Music (Jazz-World Fusion), incorporating a vast scope of musical influences like Polish folklore, Brazilian Bossa Nova, African chanting and of course the European Classical tradition. Juggling all these, seemingly unrelated musical elements, and creating her distinctly own style in the process is a true work of Art. I’m pretty sure that I also hear in her music some of the wonderful Polish Jazz vocal tradition. In her ballads the intonation reminds me of the expressiveness of Wanda Warska and in her freely improvised vocal pieces I hear a lot of the pioneering spirit of Urszula Dudziak. Regardless of the fact where it all comes from, the final result is overwhelming and exceedingly beautiful.

The wonderful trio supporting AMJ on stage was also a revelation, especially in view of the fact that it does not include a keyboard player – a very bold move considering that keyboards are considered a must when accompanying a singer. Guitar player Marek Napiórkowski (acoustic and electric guitars) carries most of the burden supplying the harmonic background and blistering solos. Bassist Robert Kubiszyn (upright and electric bass) supplied the solid foundation, which glued the music together. Drummer Pawel Dobrowolski both drove the music forward and ornamented it with inventive tidbits, which were always just right on. All three players are obvious virtuosi, but more importantly a most sympathetic and supportive musicians, putting their respective egos right where they belong – behind the singer they support. The trio played a splendid Fusion tune as their solo spot and each of the musicians had solo spots in some of the songs during the concert.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize by now that I loved the concert every possible way. But above all I was happy to see that the audience loved it as well, providing another proof of the fact that true quality Art goes straight into people’s hearts, regardless of their ability to analyze it. Thank you Anna for an enchanted evening!


Adam Baruch /