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A Precursor to the Violin: the Polish Suka

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I met Maria Pomianowska in Samarkand, where she attended the Sharq Taronalari festival as a guest speaker. But as you can see, this woman could well have been not only one of the musicians performing, but one of its finest. I heard her jamming out on the terrace of the Afrasiyob hotel, and immediately knew that I wanted to get her and that unusual instrument of hers alone for a solo videotaping. We found a room between the basement floor lobby and the kitchen that had decent acoustics and was reasonably quiet (considering its proximity to the kitchen). I just said "play" and off she went. The room was not that well lit, so please forgive the somewhat grainy image.

Maria's credentials are impressive. She graduated in cello at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. There she was granted a scholarship to learn the sarangi under the guidance of maestro Pandit Ram Narayan in India. From 1997-2002 she lived in Japan, and in 1999 she started composing cross cultural works which were commissioned by cellist Yo Yo Ma. In her continuing efforts to find connections between Asian music with her own cultural heritage, together with Dr. Ewa Dahlig and violin maker A. Kuczkowski she managed to successfully reconstruct a Suka from Bilgoraj which is what you see and hear in this video.

There are many kinds of "fusions" happening in music these days. Maria seems to be her own personal reactor, following her love of western classical music to an equal devotion to Indian classical music, and then adding a dash of Polish gestalt to the mix.

Ms. Pomianawska teaches music and runs a festival of world music in Warsaw. For more information on this amazing woman and musician, visit: pomianowska.art.pl/​
or visit her Facebook page.