February 19 at 2 PM EST / 11 AM PST
Duration: 60-70 min
Live streaming and video recording available at
Jazztopad Festival, in partnership with Polish Cultural Institute New York presents The Great Improvisation series online live streamed from the National Forum of Music (NFM) in Wrocław, Poland. The series presents various faces of jazz – from bold avant-garde and daring improvisation through to the mainstream. The ideal acoustics of the NFM halls provide a perfect environment for both young Polish bands as well as established artists. The series has presented such musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Bobo Stenson, Gregory Porter, Tomasz Stańko, Kuba Więcek, Brad Mehldau, and Dianne Reeves.
Friday, February 19, 2021 at 2 PM (EST), 11 AM (PST), Maniucha & Ksawery. They are a vocal and bass duo drawing inspiration from the deep-rooted yet endangered traditional songs of the vast Polesie region in Ukraine. Their compositions combine jazz improvisation with songs of spring, harvest, weddings, lullabies and love, to create a narrative of the cycles of nature and human life. Free live streaming at Center for World Music, Polish Music Center USC Thornton School of Music, and Center for Traditional Music and Dance.
Maniucha & Ksawery is a duo that draws on the deep-rooted yet endangered traditional songs of the vast Polissya region in Ukraine. Their compositions combine jazz improvisation with songs of spring, harvest, weddings, lullabies and love to create a narrative of the cycles of nature and human life. Vocalist Maniucha Bikont is known for her long-term involvement in both traditional and experimental fields and has spent many years travelling to meet and learn from old singers in the Ukranian villages. Double bass virtuoso Ksawery Wójciński’s spectrum of musical genres reaches from early music to contemporary improvised music. Together Maniucha & Ksawery produce vibrant and adventurous tone-poems out of their minimal instrumentation, as heard on their debut album, Oj Borom, Borom, recorded thanks to the Polish National Radio Award and the support of their fans. Maniucha & Ksawery enjoy performing in cosy intimate spaces (small stages, backyards, countryside barns) as well as acoustically refined concert halls. During their concerts they not only sing and play music but also recall the stories and fables connected with their repertoire.
Oj Borom, Borom is an attempt to create a multilayered tale based on archaic songs from western Polissya. Their starting point are traditional songs, stories, fairy tales. Vocal techniques, emotionality of this musical material, but also memory of situations, people, nature and stories accompanying the songs, are the pretext for making music together. The tales are narrated by voice and double-bass side by side as equivalent storytellers. Voice and bass become analogical participants of musical action, their parts inter-penetrate, balance, exchange. During this process it turns out that traditional music and improvised music are the languages so similar to each other, that they could be local dialects of the same language.
Ksawery Wójciński, double-bass player, composer and musician with extraordinary sensitivity and daring for experiments. His spectrum of musical genres reaches from early music to the most refined contemporary improvised music. He collaborated with musicians such as: Charles Gayle, Uri Caine, Mikołaj Trzaska, Michael Zerang, Satoko Fuji, Nicolle Mitchell, Tim Sparks, Klaus Kugel, Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustafsson, Gaba Kulka, Robert Rasz, Wacław Zimpel, Paweł Postaremczak, Raphael Roginski. He is a co-founder of ensembles such as Emergency and Hera.
Maniucha Bikont, vocalist, musician, anthropologist. She conducted a number of field recordings in Poland, Ukraine and Russia. Maniucha is a member of music and theatre groups dealing with traditional music, rituals, improvisation and unconventional vocal techniques such as Dziczka, Z Lasu, Niewte, Gęba and Tęgie Chłopy (where she sings and plays the tuba). She collaborates with Janusz Prusinowski Kompania and other Polish groups performing traditional music in crudo as well as jazz and avant-garde musicians like Ksawery Wójciński, Assaf Talmudi, Shay Tsabari, Rafael Rogiński, Ilia Saytanov.
Vocal and bass duet is a rare combination. It is very courageous and brave to come up with a concert material based on such a small band. These two musicians succeeded thanks to their maturity, disciplined minimalism, and unbelievable precision. I mean not only the professional aspect but also the stylistic references, the particular aesthetics they create, deep knowledge of the sources, awareness of the contexts they refer to, of the connections they convey. –OLO WALICKI, MUSICIAN
The Great Improvisation online series is presented by Jazztopad Festival and National Forum of Music, in partnership with Polish Cultural Institute New York. This concert is presented in collaboration with Lincoln Center and Polish Music Center USC Thornton School of Music.