Marek Grechuta Bookmark and Share


10 December 1945 - 9 October 2006

Just at the end of WW2 Marek was born in Zamość. He began to learn playing the piano in the age of seven. After moving to Krakow, he studied architecture at the Technical University. of Krakow. There he met his future friend Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz with whom he decided to start a cabaret group in the manner of Piwnica pod Baranami (an artistic bohema in Kraków which lasts to this day). This cabaret, which took the name Anawa (derived from the french word ‘avant’ (forward)). They began to perform in a student club called ‘Bambuko’. The first decent success came with the performance on Festiwal Piosenki Studenckiej in 1967. Marek Grechuta took the second place in this contest behind a then young student from Warszawa - Maryla Rodowicz. The final of the contest was broadcast live by the television what enabled the young archtecture student to be seen by the whole Poland. The next important event for Marek Grechuta was partaking in FAMA Festival where the young artist won the first prize. In 1969 he also tries a small acting sidestep in a movie by famous director Andrzej Wadja called ‘Polowanie na muchy’ (Hunting flies). In the comedy he plays the part of the VIP’s son.

This two successes led him to perform on the most important contest in Poland in that time which was the Festival in Opole. In the next year, 1970, Marek Grechuta released his debut album called simply "Marek Grechuta & Anawa" (predated by a 4-song EP in 1969). It was a mix of cabaret, lyrical songs with neobaroque sound so characteristic, as it turned out later, for the band. In the same year he also married his wife Danuta with whom he had a son, Łukasz. In 1971 Marek Grechuta and Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz recorded their second album titled ‘Korowód’ which is considered by many one of the most important in the history of Polish popular music. It contained two songs regarded as generation hymns – ‘Świecie nasz’ and the title track. This album made Marek Grechuta a star. Despite all this successes the band suddenly broke up. Marek Grechuta and Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz split. As Grechuta admitted himself there were too many individualities in the group so it couldn't last long.

Marek Grechuta arranged his own band then - WIEM. The name is an abreviation of "w innej epoce muzycznej" which means "in another musical epoch". This way Grechuta wanted to communicate the complete change of musical direction. The two albums he recorded with WIEM – ‘Droga za widnokres’ in 1972 and ‘Magia Obłoków’ in 1974 - are indeed different with more poetic artrock with jazz influences. However, the artist himself felt insecure within new musical direction and his flirt with artrock ended in 1976 when he begun to cooperate with Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz again. Together they reactivated Anawa (now with the Ścierańscy brothers in it known from the prog-band Laboratorium) and wrote a musical based around works of a Polish avantgarde writer Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (also called Witkacy) titled ‘Szalona Lokomotywa’ (with Maryla Rodowicz as one of the guest singers). This musical and LP with music from it (issued in 1977) made a huge success after which Grechuta and Pawluśkiewicz split again.

In the following years Grechuta performed in Piwnica pod Baranami and issued many good and well received albums with compositions to poems of several Polish poets. In 1994 Marek Grechuta recorded an album titled ‘Dziesięć ważnych słów’ dealing with social problems which was unusual for him. In 1997 he surprised his fans by rerecording material from ‘Droga za widnokres’ with Anawa in order to expose young generations to this cult masterpiece. In 1999 tragedy struck when his son suddenly disappeared. After appearing in the TV show ‘Ktokolwiek widział, ktokolwiek wie’ Łukasz  returned 8 months later. Marek Grechuta suddenly died the age of 60 (though it wasn't a secret that he'd been ill for a long time) died on 09 October 2006. He is buried at the Alei Zasłużonych Rakowickiego  cemetery in Krakow. For outstanding contributions to Polish culture and the achievements in artistic he was posthumously awarded by President Lech Kaczynski, the Commander's Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland. In 2010 a special commemorative coin is planned in his remembrance.

Thanks to www.progarchives.com for an excellent bio.

On the web:

- Marek's unofficial website: http://www.marekgrechuta.net/

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

Gerard Manset (France)

Lucio Battisti (Italy)

What do we think:

DB: Thanks to Alex from Poland we became aware of Grechuta and I have to say it’s a shame we overlooked him at first. He is in the same class as Niemen and played an important role in Polish rock. Less prog and more jazz then Niemen or Krzek but not less interesting. Musically he hints more to cabaret and sung poetry but stays pop/rock at the same time. OK, the 16-minute exercises of ‘Korowod’ on the CD-reissues (added as special tracks) can be a bit too much for modern ears but at the time the performances must have made quite an impression.


♪♪♪ - Marek Grechuta & Anawa - 1970

♪♪♪♪♪ - Korowód - 1971

♪♪♪♪ - Droga za widnokres - 1972

♪♪♪ - Magia obłoków - 1974

♪♪ - Szalona lokomotywa - 1977 (for non-Poles this one is beyond comprehension)

♪♪♪ - Pieśni Marka Grechuty do słów Tadeusza Nowaka - 1979

- Wiosna - ach to ty - 1987

♪♪♪♪ - Krajobraz pełen nadziei - 1989

Further listening: Śpiewające obrazy - 198; W malinowym chruśniaku - 1984; Ocalić od zapomnienia - 1990; Piosenki dla dzieci i rodziców - 1991; Jeszcze Pożyjemy - 1993
Dziesięć ważnych słów - 1994; Niezwykłe miejsca - 2003; Godzina miłowania - 2005

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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