Polska Rootz


2009 release. Subtitled: Beats, Dubs, Mixes & Future Folk From Poland. Poland was the only country behind the Iron Curtain with an active reggae scene in the early '80s. Now, dub and electronica assume their place alongside the deeply-rooted culture of folklore in Poland. What you get when you combine the two is an exciting musical genre that Eastblok Music calls Polska Rootz. The deep folk roots of Polish culture connect with the skills and sounds of the here and now on this compilation. "Roots and culture," often used in a reggae context, also have a high value in Poland. Taking into consideration the background of their painful history in centuries past, this idea stands for a return to cultural roots as a sign of resistance against the oppressors and occupiers and the attempt to survive by means of cultural resistance. Polska Rootz provides an overview of this variety of dealing with traditional music culture, which you find in Poland these days, where musicians actively absorb these traditions and make them their own, creating new bastard hybrids for the globalized sound cosmos. The influences on Polska Rootz go back to the end of the '70s, when reggae and dub made their first impact on stylistically-open Polish punk bands like Kryzys and Brygada Kryzys -- leading to the development of an original Polish reggae scene. Another example of a first fusion of folk songs from the Polish mountain regions and post-punk was the band De Press, whose experiments led to more Polish cross-disciplinary development throughout the '80 and '90s. On this compilation, Masala (Soundsystem), which usually mixes Asian sounds into their modern tracks, covers a song by '80s political punk band Dezerter and creates a drum'n'bass track with vocals from the Warsaw Village Band, who are internationally-renowned for their revival of Slavic music traditions. The band Habakuk performs the famous song "Mury" by Jacek Kaczmarski, an '80s protest song, re-made into a groovy reggae track. Reggae and dub get mixed up with Tatra folk when Trebunie Tutki meets Jamaica's Twinkle Brothers with an extra added shine by On-U-Sound mastermind Adrian Sherwood. Meritum gives us klezmer matched with improvised street music and skillful scratching. And the singing of pop icon Kayah reaches a whole new impact when it is embedded in relaxed ambient dub with an Arabic flavor. There are loads of such original mixtures to be discovered on Polska Rootz. The Poles not only master current beats and good songwriting, but also connect their own historical material to a wholly other adopted culture for the 21st century. Other artists include: Studio AS One, Orkiestra Swietego Mikolaja, Psio Crew, Zakopower, Vavamuffin, Perch, Warsaw Village Band, Lao Che, Strachy Na Lachy, Przedzskole, Mesajah, Activator, Kosmosfski, and Żywiołak.