An interview with Kara Conway (singer, songwriter)

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After a long break I’m back with a brand new interview. I talk to Kara Conway – a young, beautiful and incredibly talented singer and songwriter from Scotland. She does not only record awesome covers of greatest hits by famous artists, like Amy Macdonald, Birdy, Bruce Springsteen or Adele, but also writes and sings her own songs. We talk about her inspirations, her favourite music, writing lyrics and unforgettable concerts. Kara will also share with you some ways to keep both your body and soul warm during winter. Check this promising artist because she definitely deserves more attention. I’m sure we’ll soon have a chance to hear about her more often.

The Christmas time is over, but here, in Poland, we traditionally sing Christmas carols till the beginning of February, so let me go back to Christmas for a moment. Do you have your favourite Christmas carols or Christmas songs? Do you sing any?

Ah, in the UK it’s the opposite; Christmas songs start playing right after Halloween and stop soon after Christmas day! My favourite Christmas songs are “Walking in the Air” and “Fairytale of New York”, though I used to sing in choirs so I know my fair share of carols!

We’re talking at the beginning of the New Year. Did you make any resolutions when the clock struck twelve and 2018 began? Could you share any of them with the readers?

I didn’t – I don’t really do the whole “New Year, New Me” thing!

And what about 2017? Were there any moments in music, any outstanding songs, albums or performances that will stay in your memory for long? Did you discover any interesting artists last year?

The album I listened to most was Lorde’s Melodrama! I also got to see a couple of my favourite artists live! Interesting artists … Kathryn Joseph and Jade Bird.

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It’s my little tradition to ask artists about their beginnings. It may be a little difficult question, but maybe you’ll manage to find the answer in your memory: who was the first artist that impressed you when you were a little girl? What was your first favourite song back then?

I loved The Sound of Music so anything Julie Andrews!

And what about now? What are you mostly listening to? Which artists are the most often guests on your playlists?

Most often on my playlist would have to be: Graham Nash, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Amy MacDonald and Gabrielle Aplin.

Do you remember the very beginning of your musical journey? When was the first time you thought you would like to sing and make music?

I’ve played piano since I was little, but it wasn’t until I went to high school that I really got into music. While I was there I had two great music teachers that were really encouraging about the singing.

You sing, but you also play the guitar. Do you remember the first piece of music you learnt to play on your guitar? When was that?

It was Oasis’ “Wonderwall” and that was two and a half years ago!

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And what was your first ‘bigger‘ performance like? A concert at school? A performance for your family or friends? Or maybe something completely different?

It was probably doing a solo performance at the school’s Christmas concert!

I remember that Birdy, one of the artists you cover, once sang some of her songs at Amsterdam Central Station, surprising the passengers waiting there for their trains. I was lucky enough to catch the final part of it and watch it live on Facebook. Have you ever sung in any unusual places or situations? Or maybe you have taken part in some unusual concert as a listener?

The most unusual concert I’ve been to was a Tommy Emmanuel one because we were watching him play guitar for a couple of hours – which you would think might get a bit much after a while – but he was just doing the most incredible things! It was amazing!

You’ve already covered several great songs, including “Wings” by Birdy, Amy Macdonald’s “This is the Life”or Bruce Springsteen’s classic “I’m on Fire”. When I listened to all of them one by one, I realized how diverse your choice was and how wide a palette of vocal possibilities you have. Which of the song you’ve covered so far has given you most pleasure, most satisfaction?

At the time they’ve all given me a sense of accomplishment. Some of the songs I had really liked and wanted to learn for myself, others I hadn’t been sure of but had been asked to do and ended up really liking them!

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And what is on the top of your “must-sing” list as far as the future covers go?

Definitely some Amy Winehouse!

We’ve talked about your cover versions of famous hits. Let’s move on to your original songs. You’re not only a singer, but also a songwriter. What or who inspires you to write lyrics?

I’m inspired by things that have happened to me as well as people watching!

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Could you share some of your writing process secrets with the readers and tell us in a few words the stories of the lyrics to “Dreamers in Disguise” and “Bitter”?

One was written on piano and the other on guitar! “Dreamers in Disguise” is about a couple of different things and “Bitter” is about someone I was frustrated with!

In both of your original songs available on YouTube there’s quite a lot of sadness and contemplative atmosphere, I would say (although, of course, I find also other emotional shades there). Is it the kind of mood you would like to stick to in your music, or are you planning to try also something completely different?

I think that was the right mood for those songs, but I don’t restrict myself to that.

By the way, can we count on your next original song any time soon?

Yes, there’s one going up very very soon!

Amy Macdonald, one of the artists you’re covering (and one of my favourite artists, too), won the hearts of the listeners all over the world when she was about 20. When you think of young Scottish singers, who would you say can be the next such a star? Of course I wish you to be one in the near future J But what about other young Scottish talents worth noticing?

Check out Sara ‘N’ Junbug!

Some of your fans wrote in the comments on FB that you should go to “X-Factor”. Have you thought about starting in this, or any similar, talent show? What do you think about such TV shows in general? Can they give young artists a chance to get some more recognition?

I’ve auditioned for “The Voice” before and didn’t get through, but it’s not something I had set all my hopes on – I think you have to be realistic about those sorts of shows. But yeah, there are a small number of people who have gone on to achieve great success from them.

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If you were to imagine your inner musical world as a magical land, what would it look like? What would a traveller to such a land see while visiting it?

Lots of glitter!

And, in one sentence, what is music for you? 

Fun.

Apart from music, what do you love or like doing? What are your hobbies, passions? What do you do when you have some free time?

I love running and spin classes!

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Coming to an end of our interview, I’d like to ask you about something different. We’re talking during winter and in some parts of the world this particular winter is really harsh. What’s your way to stay warm and healthy during winter’s freezing cold?

Warm cadies and hot water bottles!

That’s something for the body. What about the spirit? Which song (or songs) would you recommend to keep our hearts warm during wintry days?

I only discovered this recently, but Hannah Grace’s cover of “Praise You”!

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Thank you very much for this “remote talk”. I hope more people will get to know about you and your music and I’ll be definitely looking forward for your new original songs and covers 🙂

Check Kara Conway’s YouTube channel, follow her on Instagram

and like her Facebook page:

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Kara on YouTube

Instagram

Kara on FB

I used screenshots from Kara Conway’s YouTube clips and photos from Kara’s private archives (by her permission) – for which, and a chance to make this interview I’m really grateful – thank you so much, Kara 🙂 All photo copyrights belong to their respective owners.

by Łukasz Garbol, January 2018

An interview with Lorhana Amaral

A TV journalist, a host of entertainment shows and music events, an actress and a blogger. She likes skateboarding and riding rollerblades. She loves art. She supports charities, but at the same time would really love to play a villain in a Brazilian soap opera. Straight from Rio de Janeiro – Lorhana Amaral. We talk not only about her career, but also about Brazilian music, telenovelas and the upcoming Olympic Games.

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RT: It’s summer, so let me ask you about working for TV in the summer. Have you ever had any surprises, funny situations happening outside when you were making summer TV shows? 

Lorhana Amaral: Yes, when I make an interview with someone, different situations happen. For example, I once went to interview a tourist in São Conrado, Rio de Janeiro, and suddenly there came a family from Bahia and began to dance axé behind my interlocutor, making din and jumping. It was very funny, so I burst into a fit of laughter and my interview was over!

Talking about summer, what are the summer music hits in Brazil this summer? What kind of music are Brazilians listening to?

Here, in Brazil, I work as a host of shows and big events, and from what I’ve seen in 2016, the main hits are deephouse, electronica, axe, backlands music, fitdance, funk and forro. But the other hits such as pop, rock and samba songs are classics that we always listen to on a daily basis.

Do you remember the first TV show you hosted? What was it? How did you feel?

I’ve participated in several television shows as an actress, model and reporter. Now, as a host, the first time I made a formal presentation was a show with a singer Fagner, a star of the great classics of MPB (“Brazilian pop musica”, “trend in post-bossa nova urban popular music in Brazil that revisits typical Brazilian styles, combining them with foreign influences, like elements of jazz or rock”, as Wikipedia explains – RT.) At that moment, I felt very happy, but at the same time I knew that was a huge responsibility. I was also nervous, because that was my first such an experience – sharing a stage with a star.

You make a lot of interviews. Who’s been you favourite guest so far?

Yes, I interview a lot of people. I talk to celebrities and famous stars. I’ve also made many corporate interviews, within Brazil and abroad. Now, an artist I really liked to interview was a musician and composer Carlos Colla – a composer of great classic hits of Roberto “King” Carlos.

Do you have a dream interview? If you could choose any person in the world, who would you like to talk to?

Yes, I have a dream interview. If we talk about Brazil, that would be an interview with a presenter Silvio Santos or a newscaster William Bonner. As for international interlocutors, that would be the President of the United States Barack Obama. I’d like to hit an informal, relaxed conversation, so that people could know them better, see them outside their work.

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What do Brazilian viewers like watching on TV? What are their favourite shows?

Here, in Brazil, peple enjoy watching soap operas, sitcoms, movies, entertainment shows, reality shows and cooking shows. As for the last ones, I had a chance to take part in one of them. I participated in a reality show called “Jogo de Panelas” (in English that would be ”Pots Game”) on “Mais Você” (Globo television) (the photo below).

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You’re also an actress. What are your most important roles?

Yes, I also work as an actress. I’ve done some commercials for television, I’ve worked as an actress in some plays in Rio de Janeiro, attended some TV shows on Multishow Globo and has acted in short and medium length films. However, I don’t consider myself a good actress, not really!

And what role, what character would you like to play?

I would like to be a villain in a telenovela, an athlete or a Rock’n’roll star. That would be awesome!

So, TV series or movie producers, if you’re reading this interview, you know what to do 😉 Brazilian soap operas are very popular in many countries, in Poland too. Why do you think people like them so much?

Because they portray the reality of day to day life. We, Brazilians, identify with what they show and enjoy watching them. It’s absolutely normal to follow your favourite telenovelas. In Brazil, it’s a real fever!

You support a lot of charities. Can you say a few words about it?

Yes, I work in a charity cultural production area, because I love to help others! Here, in Brazil, I’m developing a project called MUSICAL SHOW: Series Bossa Nova. This project is divided into series, and I aim at helping needy institutions such as, among others, orphanages, hospitals, cancer treatment facilities. The first project I’ve prepared, will take place on 8 – 19 September at the Municipal Theater of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’m still looking for sponsors and supporters to realize the project. Whoever is interested in supporting us, please contact me by e-mail: lorhana.empresarial@gmail.com.

And what do you like doing in your free time?

I love going to the movies, playing sports, dancing and singing. I love training at the gym all week, playin tennis at weekends, riding a skateboard and rollerblades when I have some time, too. But I also love art in general. I’m always present at art events, theater plays, fashion shows and exhibitions.

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We’re talking before the Olympic Games, so let me ask you a few questions about this celebration of sport. What are Brazilian people expecting from this event?

We have great renowned athletes, devoted to what they do, and we believe they will certainly present us with gold medals.

Are there any sportsmen and sportswomen people count on most? What are Brazilians’ medal hopes?

I can name a few: Arthur Zanetti (gymnast), Neymar (football player), Thaísa Menezes (volleyball player), Ana Marcela Cunha (swimmer), Mayra Aguiar (judoka), Bruno Fratus (swimmer), Marcus Vinicius D’Almeida (recurve archery), Eduarda “Duda” Amorim (handball player), Marcelo Melo (tennis player), Martine Grael (sailor), among others.

In Poland, Brazil is known mostly for football and volleyball. Some people know also capoeira and BJJ. What are, apart from football, the most popular sports disciplines in Brazil?

We also enjoy, surfing, tennis, basketball, horse riding, swimming, boxing, golf, handball, rugby, to mention just a few.

And who are the most popular sports stars in Brazil?

The most popular stars are, among others, Neymar (football player), tennis players Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares, Ricardo Santos and Emanuel Rego (both are beach volleyball players).

One of the ‘hottest’ news is the International Olympic Committee’s decision to disqualify Russian sportsmen and sportswomen using doping from the Olympic Games. What do Brazilians think about it?

We think it’s the right decision, because if the members of the Committee don’t have the right attitude and take the right decisions in accordance with the regulations of the organization, everything will turn joke, and nothing will be taken seriously, it will be a huge disrespect for other athletes who don’t use doping.

And what is your favourite sport? What will you watch during the Olympic Games?

I love playing tennis. Recently, I’ve been also trying some surfing. As for the Olympic Games, I’ll watch volleyball.

Will you have a chance to watch the Olympic Games live?

Yes, I will attend the opening of the Olympic Games and volleyball matches.

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The last question will be completely different. What are three things everyone visiting Brazil for the first time should do?

See the statue of Christ the Redeemer, go to Lapa and enjoy the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

Thank you very much for the talk.

Interview by Łukasz Garbol, July 2016

Useful links:

FB page

FB Fan Club page

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube: Lorhana UP!

Lorhana Amaral’s Blog

In Portuguese :

The show with a singer Fagner:

An interview with Carlos Colla

Lorhana Amaral in “Jogo de Panelas”:

http://gshow.globo.com/programas/mais-voce/videos/t/para-assinantes/v/mais-voce-programa-de-sexta-feira-10062016-na-integra/5084272/

http://gshow.globo.com/Bastidores/noticia/2016/06/jogo-de-panelas-19-participantes-repercutem-final-do-reality-do-mais-voce-e-se-alfinetam.html

Photos from Lorhana Amaral’s FB page. All photo copyrights belong to their respective owners.

 

An interview with Damian SyjonFam

The album of the band ComeYah that he was a singer of, sold out in a few months. The band very quickly gained respect and stole the hearts of the listeners. His debut solo album “Wracam do domu” („I’m going back home”) was also well-received. “Music coming from the heart… Music that lets us move to another world”, “Great music, it’s moved my heart”, I haven’t heard such a positive song for a long time”, “Oh, this music sets my mind at rest… and this voice”, “This song makes me so full of joy that every time I hear it, I dance. This is my dance of freedom”, “This song is very catchy. In a moment my neighbours will come, cause I make them listen to one song all day long” – these are just some of the many enthusiastic comments that can be found below the music video to the song “Powstanie” („There will appear”) that has already been watched on YouTube more than 900 000 times. Despite his success and rising popularity of his music, Damian has remained himself – a sincere, true and friendly man. Here comes my next guest in the cycle “Remote Talk” – Damian SyjonFam.

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What was the first thing you wrote? Lyrics or maybe something different, for example a poem?

That was a song, „Chłopek” („Fellow”). I sang a song with the same lyrics later, with ComeYah, but at that time the title was “Cud Prawdziwy” (“A True Wonder”).

Do you remember the first piece of music you were able to play on the guitar?

I think that was some scout song, but I don’t remember what exactly it was, something saying that we are all one family :).

And what about the first concert in front of a bigger audience (not necessarily a professional concert)?

Once, I played the tenor flute accompanying Marek Dyjak. Those were my first experiences of being on stage. I had to cross my legs to hide the fact that they were shaking from fear :).

In 1996 you the band Natura invited you to join their team. How do you remember that period of your career?

I experienced making and playing reggae music with the people who were one of my favourite Polish reggae bands at that time. Playing together with them, talking to them and, in general, spendind time in such a company – all that was an invaluable experience and a great pleasure.

Do you have your favourite song from the time of playing with Natura?

Ragavardan was to be the vocalist on the album “Wielki Haj” („Big Kick”), like he was on the first album. Unfortunately, there was some misunderstanding during the recording session and he left the band. My favourite song from that album is “Modlitwa” („Prayer”). I would love to hear it sung by Ragavardan.

Do you remember the first Polish reggae song that really impressed you?

That was the time of my life when the wave bringing Daab, Izrael, Bakshish and Natura reached me. I definitely had played and sung before I took up Daab’s philosophy of singing. One of my favourite songs was “Nienazwane barwy” („Nameless colours”) by Daab.

I’ve read on your page that when you were working in London, you met a lot of people from different countries. Did you have the impression that there was a country people from wich are especially close to our hearts, to the hearts of Polish people?

I see it in a different way. I met some people who, because of the kind of personality they had, repelled others, but I also met other people of the same nationality who were like a family to me. In a long-established English company I met an Englishman who wanted to dismiss me because I was Polish – that was the only reason. A few other Englishmen from the same company threw their weight behind me. Later, we even spent Christmas together, in a family atmosphere. I had the same experience with Chinese, Lithuanian or Irish people. Basing your opinion on the preconceived behaviour patterns is very often disastrous. It also closes the access to many valuable relationships, and there are so many wonderful people in the world – in every corner of the world.

By the way, why are Jamaican people and their music so close to the hearts of Polish people?

Reggae is a kind of music made by ordinary people for ordinary people, not for the elites or connoisseurs. This music is very close to the rhythm of the heart and close to nature. Besides, in reggae, there is a lot of love and the defiance against everything that makes human life anguish. It’s the kind of music that gives you joy and shares your sorrow. This is the reason why it’s so close to our hearts, and to the hearts of people from all over the world.

Could you say a few words about the band Akapela, about the material recorderd with them and the concerts from that time? Who were the members of that band?

That was music created in the underground and it remained there. That project never fully blossomed, but what we managed to do back then was really cool. At that time, the song “Przewiń do początku” („Rewind to the beginning”) was created. Later on, after making some little changes in it, we played it with ComeYah.

Do you keep in touch with those people – from Natura or Akapela? Are they still doing anything connected with music?

As for Natura – Bhakti who played the bass in the band is now a sound engineer working with Kamil Bednarek, Prema who played the trumpet is now a bassist in a band Na Tak, Ragavardan, the first vocalist, lives in USA and you can hear his voice in the song „Kto tu zostanie” (“Who stays here”). I am also in contact with Mahavaraha. We see each other from time to time. As far as Akapela goes, I often see Łukasz Knap and, less often, I meet Maciek Duda. I grew up with Maciek and we shared the same playground. Unfortunately, I don’t know if they are doing anything connected with music at the moment.

Let’s come back to the time when you were starting to make music. Was there any strong team of Jamaican sounds lovers in Świdnik?

There were already people who drew me to this music. Before I even knew that there were artists like Bob Marley or Burning Spear, they had already been avidly listening to their music. I’m really thankful to them for sharing their CDs with me. The album “H.I.M” of Burning Spear or a concert album of The Third World – that music was a great discovery for me and a starting point for my long quest.

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On your blog, you once mentioned that a long time ago you thought that the descriptions in books (in fiction) are unnecessary parts. Were there any books that you gave up reading, you didn’t manage to reach the end “thanks to” the descriptions?

I don’t even try to remember such books :).

While listening to your songs it’s easy to see that real life stories inspire you. Did it ever happen that something you read – a book ar an article in a newspaper – inspired you to write a song?While listening to your songs it’s easy to see that real life stories inspire you. Did it ever happen that something you read – a book ar an article in a newspaper – inspired you to write a song?

Polish lnaguage is very rich in words and reading books is a visit to the land of words. Every time you visit this land you can get something new out of it. However, once a story that my wife told me, a story about a squat in Warsaw she saw in the programme by Sekielski, inspired me to write the lyrics to the song “Syrena” (“Siren”).

Make your mind be like fertile soil
What helps you to „fertilize” your mind in everyday life?

I’m very sensitive to falsehood, but I remember not to close my mind to different ways of thinking. I listen, even if your opinion is different from mine because it often gives me an additional point of view at the particular situation, and then it creates a more detailed picture of the whole of it. Let’s learn from one another and from everything that surrounds us. This planet is beautiful as are its inhabitants. There are many experiences waiting for us, let’s not waste this chance by closing ourselves in our tight cages of the mind. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Maybe that was God who sent the angel ahead of me. / The angel will help me when I can’t manage by myself

Good people often appear in your lyrics. In everyday life we sometimes describe good people as „angels”. Have you ever experienced a moment when suddenly and unexpectedly such an “angel” appeared on your way? Any situation that is humanly unexplainable?

Things that happen to you are very often your desires that come true. The less fear and concern and the more faith and certainty that Someone is watching over us – God that we trust, some Good Omnipotent Power, the better things will get. Those who I call angels are often ordinary people unaware of how much they can give to others, sometimes by ordinary gestures. The energy moves around and goes into people. It’s a Good Thought that triggers actions. The actions of one person influence another person and this way the energy travels around on and on. Angels exist, good people are among us. I’ve never doubted that. Once, when I was a teenager, I went hitchhiking to Portugal. I travelled without a tent, without any food. I had just one hundred dollars, a few friends and strong belief in people J I spent a month at the Rainbow Festival.I managed to get there and to come back home safe and sound. That was a beautiful adventure. Now, when I think about it, I know that back then the Lord was watching over me all the time – that was why I met people of a certain kind and certain events happened en route.

Never will Babilon see my tears, / Never will it know how it is inside of there.

We are both from Świdnik and when I was listening to this song, a reflection came to my mind. In July 1980 a strike broke out in Świdnik that started big changes in Poland and, later on, in Europe. During the time of the martial law so-called Świdnik Walks took place here. A short explanation for those who haven’t heard about that: when the main TV news started people put their TVs in the windows and went out for a walk, walking down the main street of the town to protest against the lies of the propaganda present in the communist TV. Those people didn’t want Babilon to see their tears or, to qoute another song from your album, „raised their voices” when the others were harmed. Nowadays, those events have been in a sense appropriated by a small group of people including politicians. Ordinary people who took part in those events don’t want to speak about what they did. They think, “How did all that help me? It didn’t” while the events that I’ve mentioned are something we can be proud of. Why do you think it’s happening? How do you see our future? Can we be optimists and repeat after the band Midnite “dem can’t conquer our genealogy”? Or will that events fall into oblivion?

It would be good to learn the art of looking at the past as something that could motivate us to take some positive actions in the future. Me and you influence the present and the future and we’re aware that our lives were influenced by the actions our predecessors had the courage to take. Our future will be the same as we are, the same as our children are. „As long as we live…” there is still hope.

Go ahead, because you have light in your. / just raise it higher so that no one can cover itIdź przodem, bo światło masz w dłoni. / tylko unieś je do góry, żeby nikt go nie zasłonił
In the interview for Weekend FM you mentioned that you hoped that listening to your songs people would realize that they were not alone, that there was someone who shared their way of thinking about certain matters. Do you have any visible proofs that something like that is happening, for example when you talk to people after concerts or when you read messages from your fans?

Yes. There’s really a lot of it. My belief in people gets confirmed. I didn’t have any specific expectations, I just wanted to share what I felt with others. I expected that someone could think about certain things in a similar way, but seeing how big this wave is fills me with belief that at the end of the day the world will finally choose the right path.

May the radio emits the waves that I like
Apart from rare exceptions, radio stations don’t usually play reggae songs. Reggae music, like rap music, makes people think, it asks questions that aren’t necessarily the ones that those ruling the media would like to hear. Can it be one of the reasons why the biggest stations don’t play too much reggae? Is it better for them to “breed“ obedient, unthinking listeners?

I think so. We aren’t very demanding and we underrate the importance of our decisions. Maybe the reason is the lack of time for searching for something true and sincere. If we speak about a few biggest commercial radio stations, then it’s true – there’s no choice. But we live in the times of the Internet. You can find there a lot of music that has some message, music that’s sincere and enriches your life. We shouldn’t give up and just let it go. If a certain station doesn’t fit your musical taste, change the station. Listen to what you like, not to what you have to listen to.

Since our last interview a lot has happened in your life. One of the most interesting events was probably playing the concert as a support before Mellow Mood and a visit to the concert of Gentleman – this time you were a listener. Did you have a chance to talk, at least for a moment, to those people? If you did, how was it?

I met one of the twins from Mellow Mood. It was a very positive experience. They even offered me a chance to appear on stage if I got carried away J I also met a very nice guy called Droop Lion. He’s now the vocalist of The Gladiators. He’s a typical Rasta, he likes to philosophise and he has a lot of interesting thins to say.

And what about the festival in Ostróda? Did you make any new “musical” friends there?

The best thing about Ostróda was the chance to meet the people I had been in touch with via e-mail or through someone else, people like Ras Luta, Pablopavo or my publisher Melon. I also met K-Jah, who made music to a few songs on my album, and a few people I had heard a lot about in the past, like Jarek Hejenkowski or Silver Dread. A lot of very nice memories are connected with Ostróda.

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At the end, let’s talk for a moment about the music videos promoting your album. The first video was the clip to „Powstanie”. Where did you film it? Who was responsible for making the video? And, what is it like to play in a video directed by your wife?

We filmed it in different locations in Nowy Sącz, among others in the heritage park and the stud Jankowa. ProWizja Studio, a team from Nowy Sącz, did all the filming and eiditing, while my wife Magda was responsible for the script and directed the video. The best thing that can happen to you is to be surrounded by people who are in the right place and know what they do. That was the case with ProWizja, and that was, and is, the case with my wife. What I hold very dear in her is that she doesn’t accept half measures. If she realizes that something can be done – in this case something can be filmed better, she won’t let it go until her vision is accomplished. Then, how close the cameramen manage to come to this vision depends on how good their skills are. Later we have the result of that work – 800 000 views on YouTube in five months!

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One of the most important characters in this music video is a horse. Did anything unexpected or funny happen during the filming because a horse played in the clip?

The horse in the music video is a symbol of freedom, and Badger really had a feel for the role. Filming the scene in which he stands on his hind legs wasn’t easy because just after doing it he went to a crazy, uncontrollled gallop :). The only thing that helped the crew to make him go into some specific direction, so that it was possible to catch him and retake the scene, was the view of two attractive mares standing nearby :).

The second music video – to to the song „Wracam do domu”– was made in cooperation with XVisuals, the studio that some people may remember from the music video to “Na Wschód” by ComeYah. It’s easy to see that a lot of awesome people with different talents and hobbies appeared on the set. Where did you find them?

Yes. The cooperation with XVisuals is a different story because in that case the shooting was spread out for more days. The most difficult and the most demanding day was the one we spent in Szczyrk. In response to the advertisement that a friend of ours showed on the local TV channel a lot of young people appeared on the set and played in the video. Besides, we were very lucky to have one of the best Polish paragliders, Paweł Faron, helping us while filming. Loads of people from Świdnik were eager to help. If there is a good idea, it’s really easy to find people help you. Again, Magda had a clear vision of how that should look. I’m very lucky for one more reason. My son Dawid feels the parts Magda writes for him and together we can strengthen our message to people even more. Having a chance to do it all together is a great power and grace.

SyjonFam 5

We’re talking about your music videos. And what about you? Do you like watching videos of other artists? Do you have your favourite music video (not necessarily because you like the music, but because the video itself is special)?

One of the best Polish music videos I’ve seen is obviously the music video to the song „Tango Apaszowskie” by Projekt Warszawiak. If someone hasn’t seen it yet, I really recommend watching it. As far as foreign video clips are concerned, I often watch “Make it bun them” by Jr Gong and Skrillex.

What about the concert plans? Where will it be possible to listen to you in the nearest future?

From January we start our tour. I invite everyone to visit my page and my FB fanpage. There’s always up-to-date information.

Interview by Łukasz Garbol, November – December 2014

A few useful links:

Official page  http://syjonfam.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/syjonfam

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/Syjon7

SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/syjonfam

“Powstanie” – music video

“Wracam do domu” – music video

 

Photos 1, 2 & 3 – promo photos from the artist’s pages. Big thanks to Damian and Magda, his wife, manager and the music videos’ scriptwriter for the photos 🙂 Photo 4 is a frame from the music video to “Powstanie” by Prowizja Studio. Photo 5 – a frame from the music video to “Wracam do domu” by Xvisuals. All photo copyrights belong to their respective owners.

 

An interview with Mariusz Migałka (Circle of Bards, Mr.Hyde)

A proof that you don’t have to look for interesting artists very far. My first interlocutor is Mariusz Migałka. On the one hand, he revives the tradition of bards, singing songs about dragons, knights and drakkar voyages, on the other hand, he doesn’t keep off playing rock music full of energy. If you haven’t known him yet, read the interview, listen to the music and wait for his new albums.

Mariusz Migałka Fot.Edyta Migałka

Remote Talk: What does being a bard mean to you? Who can be called a bard today?

Mariusz Migałka: For me the word “bard” has always had very romantic connotations going deep into the past. It infallibly reminds me of the most sincere kind of playing music and the most intimate form of contact with an audience. I imagine the bard as a kind of lone wolf, someone who has something intriguing to show to others, who can, even on his own, grip the listeners with his story, make them slip into reverie. The element of loneliness is always present in my music, no matter which band I write for. I always compose my songs in such an intimate way – just me and my guitar. This kind of work helps me later on, letting me play every piece of music even with the accompaniment of only one instrument. I think that I have something interesting to say, using interesting means, so I consider myself a bard. Who is a bard nowadays for me? Well, the world has changed a little – and the bards have changed too. However, the needs are still the same – we still look for guides, for the answers to the primeval questions or simply good tales. In a sense, every artist is a bard, if his work is of any value.

Take a feather and be a poet
Do you remember when for the first time you “took up the quill”, wrote something and thought, “I can show it to people” ?

Ufff… it’s a difficult question. I think it never happened in such a trivial way, like “I have hereby created a great work, let me show it to the world”. It all happened in a normal way and, luckily, it took me many years. Every musician has his musical nursery. I also started very early, but my first compositions weren’t the best ones in the world and, thank God, disappeared into the depths of the past. However, that didn’t stand in my way as far as taking part in festivals was concerned. So, looking for an audience turned out to be something natural – something connected with making music from the very beginning. Probably every artist looks for his or her listeners. Whether a certain work is worth plaudits is a totally different question. I can only add that I started to compose my own pieces of music in about 1997 and I think that the demo of my high-school band Sham-rock, even though naive and imperfect, when you look at it after all these years – may be treated as my first work worthy of attention.

The song will remain
Which contemporary pieces of music would you like to save the most? Imagine that you can record a CD with the pieces that you would like to leave to descendants. What songs would be on such a CD?

Hmm… If you mean my own music, of course I would like the album “Tales” to stand the test of time and become something special. I’m also very proud of the last achievements of Mr. Hyde – I mean our EP “A New Direction”. We put a lot of effort into it and making it we raised the bar high for ourselves. Recording that material demanded a lot of courage, because in a way these songs are in a newer style from previous. On this mini-album you’ll find a lot of good music worth the listener’s attention. I have too many new songs, so I can’t say I would like to concentrate only on my old pieces. A lot of artists have this problem, I suppose. All the time you are creating something new and you would like to show it, because in your opinion it’s the best at the moment. It’s the same with me, so my album for the descendants would probably include the freshest songs because they represent the current state of my mind. As they say, “today you are wiser than yesterday”.

And what about songs by other artists ?

Well, there are many. But if I had to choose a few pieces that I think should be buried in a time capsule, these would be, among others, “The Bard’s Song” and “A Past And Future Secret” by Blind Guardian, “The Mummer’s Dance”, “The Mystic’s Dream”, “Beneath A Phrygian Sky”, “Santiago” by Loreena McKennit (I would probably include her whole discography there), “Ghost Of A Rose” by Blackmore’s Night, a lot of pieces by Clannad with “Robin (The Hooded Man)” on top of the list, plus many rock songs – it’s hard to enumerate them all here. I will just mention “Tears Of The Dragon” by Bruce Dickinson, my beloved “Out To Every Nation” by Jorn or the immortal “Holy Diver” by Dio. It’s impossible to limit my choice just to one genre or artist. My list would be invidious to some of my favourite artists – the list of the best songs of all times should be very long. What is more, I’m still discovering new music all the time.

Circle of Bards
Imagine that you can sit by the fire together with other bards, other creators of the kind of music that Circle of Bards play. Who would appear in such a circle of bards?

First and foremost, the ones who don’t refuse a sip of good beer, he he … And seriously, as a musician, I think I wouldn’t have enough courage and enough skills to invite myself into such a company, but I would gladly see such a dream team. It would be nice to hear how such artists play together: Ronnie James Dio weaving his ballad about dragons or Bruce Dickinson emblazoning Jerusalem to accompaniment of Clannad.

Fight the dragons inside us
What are for you the most dangerous monsters that a beginning artist, a musician has to face?

There are too many of them to number. First of all, a beginning artist must face himself or herself. He or she has to understand how much self-determination and strength he or she needs to do what he or she loves to do. Nothing comes easily and one success isn’t always followed by another. What is more, so-called show business doesn’t create a friendly environment for artists. What’s the biggest demon of this business? If you want to remain true to yourself, do what you really want to do, play the music that is in your heart, you often have to face rejection, criticism and the lack of understanding. Personally, I think that if what you do is something really meaningful, you should do it, no matter what the circumstances and others’ opinions are. The latter may be especially demotivating – often unsupported with any proof, venomous – this is probably the worst kind of monster.

Probably at the moment most of the listeners associate you with Circle of Bards, but this is neither where your musical work begins nor where it ends. Could you remind us, especially for those who are just beginning to listen to your music, what bands have you played in so far? Could you also in a few words say what each of those bands gave you?

My adventure with music began in about 1996, but Circle of Bards turned out to be a turning point in my career. However, before the idea to create Circle of Bards was born, there were other bands in the meantime. I’ll just name a few. In 1999, I recorded my first original composition with a band called Sham-rock – the name I’ve already mentioned. In 2004, I joined a group Solveig from Lublin. Later on its name was changed into Mr. Hyde and the band continues to play under this name. Until recently, I was also a member of Acute Mind from Lublin. Besides, I took part in different other musical projects, like a song “W drodze” (“On the way”) that was written as a part of the refugee assistance programme prepared by the Volunteer Centre. I appeared in the music video for this song too. I also appeared as a guest on the album “The Oratorio of the town Lublin” alongside such artists as Krzysztof Cugowski and Magda Welc, in the song “The Bernardines”.

Mariusz Migałka - klip1

Mariusz Migałka - klip2

You don’t only sing, write lyrics and compose. You are also a graphic designer. Is there anyone or anything that inspires you in this art?

I’m a philologist by education and I’m a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi literature too. If I can say that something inspires me, that would be it. I’m a fan of the artists making the covers of albums, like Felipe Machado Franco, Andreas Marschal or Paul Gregory. I am the author of a few covers myself and there’s no denying that this kind of designing work is what interests me the most. There are a few more things that inspire me, like the book covers, CD covers, already mentioned here, and movies. For many years I’ve also been a comic maniac – I was reared on the style of Janusz Christa, Grzegorz Rosiński and Papcio Chmiel.

Have you discovered any interesting graphic artist recently? Is there anything fresh you can recommend?

I must admit that my latest discovery is Salvador Dali – as you can see, it’s never too late to delve into the past. For me, his works are fresh and new. I recommend them to everyone who hasn’t discovered them yet.

Going back to Circle of Bards – as far as I know some changes were made in the band. Can you say something more about it? How does the line-up look now?

At the moment Circle of Bards works temporarily as a duet: Mariusz Migałka and Jakub Kotynia. The genesis of this situation is long and complicated. Playing a concert during this year’s WOŚP (Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity – a very big charity campaign in Poland) we discovered that it gave us a great amount of fun and we saw big potential in this kind of playing live – vocal-instrumental band consisting of two people, amazing atmosphere and, above all, great fun. We received a very warm reception and got a lot of offers for concerts in such a line-up. We decided to take a risk. Of course, it’s possible that CoB will come back in a bigger line-up. At the moment, however, we get a lot of joy from playing in this narrow circle and we’d like to use it to its maximum potential.

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In one of the interviews given about the time of releasing the album “Tales” you mentioned that on the next album you wanted to include more songs in Polish (“Tales” included songs mostly in English). Do you keep this resolution? Could you let us in on the secret and say what we can expect on the new album when it’s finally released?

Yes, I keep this resolution. I have a dozen or so compositions in my drawer, some of which are destined for the next album of CoB. At the moment I can say that half of them comprise lyrics in Polish. I’m still working on my English though, because we don’t completely turn away from it. A lot of people reproached me for bad pronunciation on “Tales” and I must agree with them to some extent. It wasn’t too good. In my defence, I can say that English wasn’t the main priority at the time. Singing in English just fitted the demands of that time. However, I’m an ambitious person so I concentrated more on improving my accent. I hope it’s much better now, but I don’t want to stop at this point, I want to keep improving it.

Some authors of the comments on YouTube wrote that your pronunciation was very bad. As an English teacher, I can say that my impression was completely different. If we compare the album by the Circle of Bards with the work of many other Polish artists singing in English, I think there’s really nothing to be ashamed of. By the way, it’s interesting that there are so many experts on English pronunciation on YouTube.

It’s very kind of you to say so. I’m aware that people cavil at my pronunciation on “Tales”, because from the perspective of time I realize some things that I can cavil at myself. Nevertheless, I received a lot of positive feedback on that album, including the ones concerning my English pronunciation. A lot of people from abroad were delighted by the fact that my singing in English was understandable. In Poland, however, the reviews and comments took no prisoners. I must admit that for me this phenomenon is a little strange, but perhaps it comes from our Polish character.

Speaking about the reactions of the fans, we must mention that Circle of Bards has fans not only in Poland, but also abroad, all over the world. How does the situation look now? Where do your fans come from? Which countries are on top of the list? Your music has been played on international radio stations, right?

You’re right. Circle of Bards has quite a big group of fans abroad, and, if we are to trust the statistics, it’s abroad where the sales of our CDs are best. It’s difficult to talk about the “leader” among fans. We receive a lot of e-mails and comments from different parts of the world: Italy, Germany, Ireland, USA, UK, Spain, Slovakia and Hungary, but also from Australia, Moldova, Brazil, and recently Norway – to mention only a few. These are various, sometimes exotic, countries. It’s always a great pleasure to read letters from our fans. At the same time, it’s a little sad that we don’t have a strong manager who could let us showcase our music to the world. I’m convinced that Circle of Bards would return victorious from such international voyages. Our music would be shown to be good enough. The proof of that can be found in the fact that foreign radio stations often play our songs.

Will the new songs – the ones that weren’t included on “Tales” but that we can now listen to on the concerts – appear on the new album?

First of all, I must say that I would really love to finally make this album. All the new compositions that we’ve already added to our concert repertoire, would appear on it. As I’ve already mentioned, at the moment we have a handful of pieces arranged for the recording. We are working on the rest of songs – temporarily as a duet. I’ll admit that the face of Circle of Bards has undergone a delicate change. I’m not speaking here about the fact that we play in a duet, but rather about some novelties we would like to introduce in the music of Circle of Bards. It will be the sign of the musical development of the group. There will be more rock ballad kind of sounds. Still, I promise there will be also dragons, sea stories and fantastical tales.

When we talked last time, we were looking forward to the film version of „Hobbit”. Now we are after the premieres of the first two parts of the film trilogy. What were your impressions after going to the cinema?

I’m totally satisfied. Once again Peter Jackson enchanted me, he took me on a journey to Middle-Earth. I’ve heard different comments on both parts of “Hobbit”, sometimes very critical. I can only tell the ones that are disappointed to take a deep breath or simply stop at the stage of reading the book and not to go to the cinema for the next part. I personally give the creators of “Hobbit” two A’s. The first part whetted my appetite, the second left me a little unsatisfied. I put it down to its being the “middle” film. I watched both parts at the cinema – each of them twice. Let it be my final comment.

And what do you think about the songs promoting the two films – the first one by Neil Finn and the second one by Ed Sheeran?

As for the first one, the song itself is amazing. I can say the same about the main theme that appears in “Unexpected Journey” now and then. Having heard it, you can’t stop crooning it. It’s one of the best themes – both from “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” and my second favourite, just after the theme of Edoras. However, I must say that the version by Neil Finn doesn’t really convince me. As for “I See Fire”, for me it’s a way-out song. The work of Ed Sheeran isn’t really my cup of tea, but this song is awesome.

Thank you very much for the talk.

Interview by Łukasz Garbol.

I’d like to thank Mariusz Migałka for agreeing to be my first interlocutor. Many thanks go also to Edyta Migałka for letting me use her photos. Last but not least, special thanks to Siôn R. Williams for doing the proofreading. Short quotes in italics are taken from the album “Tales” by Circle of Bards.

Circle of Bards:
Facebook https://pl-pl.facebook.com/circleofbards
YouTube http://www.youtube.com/circleofbards
Official page http://www.circleofbards.pl/

“W drodze” (“On the way”) – music video

Photos 1 and 4 by Edyta Migałka. Photos 2 and 3 – frames from the music video to the song “W drodze” – “On the way” (by Mariusz Migałka and Zaira, photography: Piotr Miłkowski, directed by Marcin Wąsowski) produced by Volunteer Center in Lublin.  All photo copyrights belong to their respective owners.