Two of Poland’s brightest stars sing Christmas songs in Arabic
Barbara Kinga Majewska (voice) & Marcin Masecki (piano, synthesizer)
The carols recorded by Barbara Kinga Majewska and Marcin Masecki are songs for the time of contempt that we live in, an era of rising xenophobia replacing care and empathy in relation to the growing number of defenceless victims of wars, conflicts, and other calamities.
This belief guided the decisions regarding the arrangements of the carols on this album. Major keys turn into minor keys and give the pieces a different character and emotional registers. Instead of joy, triumph, there is a sense of melancholia, sadness, nostalgia for something which has been irrevocably lost. In such an atmosphere, every news of birth has the potential to become an introduction to grief. The carols are also sung at a decelerated tempo and offer a meandering rhythm of wandering rather than a lively melody. Finally, their lyrics have been translated into a dialect used in the region of Aleppo, a place which, in the last couple of years, has become the symbol of the ravages of war and senseless massacres of innocent people.
About the performers:
BARBARA KINGA MAJEWSKA is a singer, songwriter, essayist, and overseer of numerous projects dedicated to contemporary music. She has given world premieres of compositions by Pawe? Mykietyn, Aleksandra Gryka, Marcin Sta?czyk, Andrzej Kwieci?ski, Wojciech Blecharz, S?awomir Wojciechowski, Karol Nepelski, Joanna Wo?ny, Lukas Ligeti, Adam Walicki, Jason Buchanan, and Julian Lembke. Since 2015 Majewska has performed the role of Klawdia Chauchat in Pawe? Mykietyn’s Czarodziejska Góra. In the Polish premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Lost Highway, she sung ther double role of Renee and Alice.
Majewska publishes for Glissando Magazine, National Audiovisual Institut, and Muzyka w Mie?cie Magazine. Since 2016, she has published a monthly feuilleton for Ruch Muzyczny Magazine. She is also the author of Critical Vocal Guide and the manifesto New Cantability in Contemporary Music. In 2015, she was nominated for the prestigious Award Paszporty Polityki in the category of classical music. According to Wysokie Obcasy Magazine, she was one of 50 Most Influential Polish Women of 2016.
MARCIN MASECKI is a pianist, composer, and conductor. Current projects include Marcin Masecki’s Jazz Trio and Jazzband M?ynarski-Masecki. He is artistic resident at the Szczecin Philharmonic and runs a series of monthly concerts at the Warsaw Studio Theatre. Recently, he served as arranger, composer and consultant for Pawlikowski’s Cold War, the soundtrack for which Elvis Costello called “by far the best thing I’ve heard all year.”
photo: Jacek Poremba