Live Video: Olo Walicki Kaszebe II

photo by Jim Bennett (view set)

Among the Polish artists we discovered during the recordings KEXP captured while at the OFF Festival in Katowice, Poland, perhaps none better exemplifies the country’s musical diversity as Olo Walicki. The Gdansk-born composer, performer and bass player has recorded many albums of his own throughout his career and contributed to dozens of others, all in varying styles and influences that range between classical music, experimental jazz, free improvisation, alt-rock, electro-pop, and many others. His current project, Olo Walicki Kaszebe II, takes root primarily in the landscape, language and people of Kashubia, a region located in northwestern Poland and bordering on the Baltic Sea. Like Silesia in the south, Kaszëbë (as it’s known in the Kashubian language) has its own unique history and ethnicity that its population maintains while also regarding themselves as Poles. With Kaszebe II, Olo Walicki aspires to “an original take on Kashubia, both beautiful and horrible” while retaining his avant musicality and incorporating both traditional and unorthodox instrumentation. Live, during a special session we recorded with the band at Fabryka Porcelany Śląskiej, the historic porcelain factory in Katowice, Olo’s philosophy was “anything goes”, as he played a 5-string bass, a cittern-like stringed device made of cardboard, and a sonically enhanced soccer table from a kids game, and even as his band stuck to more familiar instruments – drums, trumpet, guitar – the compositions they performed together were so free-ranging and genre-bending that the only thing you could expect while listening is to lose yourself and have fun.

Enjoy this energetic and experimental set now and stay tuned each Tuesday for more in our series of Polish artists recorded by KEXP in Katowice, Poland, made possible by the OFF Festival and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s Don’t Panic! We’re from Poland! initiative.

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