THE BLOG
09/08/2014 12:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

At the Izmir Jazz Festival: Exploring the Connections Between Turkish and Polish Music

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A few years ago I discovered the music of the Janusz Prusinowski Trio, and it led to an invitation to the very exciting Mazurka Festival that they organize in Warsaw every year. I had no idea, however, that it would eventually also lead to covering their performance in collaboration with Turkish musicians at the Izmir Jazz Festival.

At the Izmir Jazz Festival: Exploring the Connections Between Turkish and Polish Music from Michal Shapiro on Vimeo.

Their concert was an exploration into the musical exchanges that may have occurred during the time when the Ottoman Empire bordered on Poland, which covers a 600 year period. This kind of research is typical of the Trio, who are spearheading a folk revival in their homeland. They have been resurrecting vibrant village dance music and songs that have been endangered from years of State (read Soviet) control, the encroachment of western Pop, and the gradual trend toward urbanization. The music that they and others have been presenting is remarkable in its complexity and tonalities, and as Mr. Prusinowski mentions, to the Western ear some of it it can sound quite Eastern.

There was no preparation prior to this musical encounter, save for some YouTube video viewing. The Trio, accompanied by five singers met with a group of Turkish musicians and over a period of days attempted to connect musically. I should mention that everyone who came from Poland with the trio had an equal fascination for any folk heritage, so they really wanted to experience the Turkish folk tradition; not just present their own. Because I was documenting the rehearsals, I was very tuned in to the emotional nuances, the frustrations and the breakthroughs. And as you will see in the mini-doc that leads to the performance, the real turning point came not so much from the rehearsals but more from one night outside of the work place.

What I am presenting here is a very condensed version of both the process leading up to the concert, and the concert itself.

For the full documentary visit: inter-muse.com/the-making-of-a-lifetimes-journey-in-song/
For the full concert, visit: inter-muse.com/prusinowski-trio-friends-live-in-izmir-turkey/