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Budka Suflera was formed in Lublin in 1974 by Christopher Cugowski, Romuald Lipko and Thomas Zeliszewskiego. It was actually the second incarnation of the band since Cugowskiego already had a band going but it wasn’t after Lipko joined that the band took off. After a suggestion of Jerzego Janiszewskiego the band recorded a Polish version of Bill Withers classic ‘Ain’t no sunshine’ with initial scepticism. The formula worked however and in the end 20 versions were recorded for the demo ‘Sen o dolinie’ (Dreams of the valley). This demo got them invited to record a full album released in 1974. ‘Cień wielkiej góry’ (Shadow of the great mountain) was inspired by the tragic death of two Polish mountaineers in 1973. Czeslaw Niemen played along on the album as a guest on the Moog. Behind the scenes the first discussion already took place. So was decided that compositions should be from Lipko-Cugowski. This resulting that a Lipko composition didn’t make the album. Next to that Polish officials censored several versions of the cover so that Lipko in the end decided that the cover should be completely white, only the band's name and title in the middle. The album was a success with even interest from the DDR.

At the early 1976 the band released their second album. But in 1977, disagreements between the singer and other musicians became more intense when he demanded the exclusion of his name before the name of the team. Shortly thereafter, Romuald Lipko threw Cugowskiego out leaving the band with no singer. At the end of the year Stanisław Wenglorz joined the band but in the end he didn’t do and was replaced by Romuald Czystaw. To securely test him the band recorded some covers among which ‘Baker Street’ (Gerry Rafferty) and ‘Give a Little Bit’ (Supertramp). After this the band started recording for the album ‘Ona przyszła prosto z chmur’ (She came straight from the clouds) but it took two years before the album was released. The eighties turned out to be a fruitful period for the band not only under their own flag but also as session band for singers like Anna Jantar, Urszulla and Izabela Trojanowska. Tension between band members grew ever higher however and band changes were a regular fact. Meanwhile Tonpress kept pressing the remaining members for new albums. In 1986 the band was chewed out ‘Giganci tańczą’ (Giants dance) after which Lipko decided to put his interest in other music. He started writing for Zdzisława Sośnicka and recording film-music for the movie ‘Pay Off’. Contractual obligations forced them to create one more album of which the title ‘Ratujmy co się da!!’ (Save what we can!!) is exemplary for the state Budka Suflera was in.

It wasn’t for six years before part of the band came together again on invitation of American-Polish immigrants to perform in New York City. In 1992 the band did go (they performed at the Beacon Theatre on Broadway) and was excited enough to pick up the process of recording together. A mini-album in 1993 resulted in a full album in 95. The was a grand comeback with sales going over 200.000 copies. In 1998 the band returned to NYC for a show at Carnegie Hall to celebrate their 25th anniversary. In the new millennium the band started to lose their touch with the public however and sales went down rapidly. In an effort to create a superalbum the old members again sacked all guitarist and went to the US to record with an American star crew amongst which were Steve Lukather, Marcus Miller and Sheila E. It didn’t work and in the end the album was distrubted to the public through a special campaign with the kiosk where the album was sold for 1 euro.

In 2008 the band returned to the scene with a performance at Opole of the song ‘Zgubiłem cię’ written by Lipko and Zeliszewski of which the ended at third place. Later that year they received the Złotego Słowika for their entire career and released a new single in December called ‘Zostań Jeszcze’. In august 2009 they celebrated their 35th anniversary with a show starring Romuald Czystaw, Felicjan Andrzejczak, Izabela Trojanowska and Urzsula.

On the web:

- Budka Suflera's unofficial website: http://www.budkasuflera.pl/

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Spliff (Germany)

What do we think:

DB: To call Budka Suflera responsible for the Polish eighties sound between 80 and 85 is maybe a bit to much but fact is that they were present on a large chunk of the albums released at the time. The albums I know of their releases under their own name are of good quality although sometimes you miss something like ‘soul’. If you keep in mind that they liked intelligent pop acts like Supertramp it won’t be a surprise. Maybe the lack of excellent studios was their luck because the albums always seem to keep a raw edge. A state of the art studio would have lured them into production overload. With the albums as they are now they compare more to German band Spliff then Supertramp. Well crafted pop/rock.


♪♪♪ - Przechodniem byłem między wami - 1976

♪♪♪ - Ona przyszła prosto z chmur - 1980

♪♪♪ - Za ostatni grosz - 1982

♪♪♪♪ - Czas czekania, czas olśnienia - 1984

Further listening: Cień wielkiej góry - 1975; Na brzegu światła - 1978; Giganci tańczą - 1986; Ratujmy co się da!! - 1988; Cisza - 1993; Noc - 1995; Nic nie boli, tak jak życie - 1997; Bal wszystkich świętych - 2000; Mokre oczy - 2002; Jest - 2004
♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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