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Anna Maria Jopek Bookmark and Share

About:

14 December 1970

Anna Maria Jopek, born in Warzwa, is the daughter of famed Mazowsze singer Stanislaw Jopek (1935-2006), who is known as the 'First coachman of Poland' for his signature song 'Furman' ('Coachman'), and former Mazowsze dancer Maria Stankiewicz. She studied piano at Chopin's Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland. After briefly studying in Manhattan School of Music's Jazz Department Anna decided not to play Mozart concertos anymore and trade her beloved Ravel for Keith Jarrett. Philharmonic Hall for a small, smoky clubs and theatres.

Her unique voice was recognized in an early stage by French composer and arrangeur Michel Legrand who awarded her with a Personal Award in Witebsk in 1994. Thanks to this award she signed a contract with Polygram for a debut album. It would however take three years to complete the album. The first hint of the album came in the form of the single 'Chwilozofia 32-bitowa' in 1996. After small succes Polygram and Poland deceided to send Anna Maria to the Eurovision songcontest in 1997 with the song 'Alle Jestem' ('But I am'). It finished 11th out of 25 participating acts. It did however establish Anna Maria’s name and helped the sale of her debut. It sold 270.000 copies and received a Fryderyka for best debut.  Her follow up album 'Szeptem' is a live album and more jazzy then her debut. This cycle would turn out to be typical thoughout her career. Anna refuses to choose between jazz and pop. She says: “I embrace a lot of influences. Jazz is by far the most important in its freedom, its harmony and its sense of time, but I was brought up with the old Polish folk songs. So I'm kind of rooted here in all these Slavic landscapes and sounds". During the Jazz Jamboree International Festival 40th Anniversary Gala in 1998 she performed with the one of the greatest jazz musicians of our time: Joe Lovano. This would be the first of many jazz and pop collaborations to follow with artists like ECM-based trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, Pat Metheny and Sting.

In 1998 she also marries the radio DJ Marcin Kydryński with whom she later on has two children. Her 1999 Christmas CD, 'Dzisiaj z Betleyem' features two duets with her father. At the start of millenium Anna Maria’s popularity grows and she performs open air gigs for 5,000 fans, as happened in Warsaw in June 2001 and 8,000 in Augustów in July 2003. In fact she is not font of these big gatherings and would focus on recitals in concert halls. In 2003 at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, invited by the first family Anna gave a small recital broadcasted live and dueted with former King Crimson member Gordon Haskell. On January 4, 2004 she performs in Carnegie Hall in New York. Her Anna Maria's sister, Patricja is a known concert violinist, who has performed on TV programs like Poland's Dancing with the Stars. In 2011 Jopek establishes her own company AMJmusic and releases a triptych project mixing traditional Polish, Japanese and Portugese culture with jazzpop. With mixed results. The parts are sold seperatly or in a deluxe edition as 'Lustra'.

On the web:
- Anna Maria's official website: http://www.anna-maria-jopek.com

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

Kari Bremnes (Norway)

Dulce Pontes (Portugal)

What do we think:

DB: Magnificent voice that seems to be made of crystal and ice. Anna Maria's voice can evoke images of the meadows around Turon, of the forests in Bailowieza, of icy Masoerian lakes. Or is that just my imagination? She sings pop and jazz which she surprisingly can get away with (unlike other artists who can't choose). However, switching to the English language the spell is broken. Anna...don't do that.

PR: The first time I saw (and heard) Anna-Maria was in 1997, when she performed the song 'Ale jestem' at the Eurovision Songcontest. I immediately loved the song and the singer and bought two of her records. It smeed that her own material is much more rooted in jazz and world music than her Eurovision entry and of even better quality. Anna's albums are perfect when sitting in front of the fireplace in wintertime or for playing on your I-Mac when walking through a forest in autumn.

Albums:

♪♪♪ - Ale Jestem - 1997

♪♪♪ - Szeptem (Koncert) - 1998

♪♪♪♪♪ - Jasnosłyszenie - 1999

♪ - Dzisiaj z Betleyem - 1999

♪♪♪ - Bosa - 2000

♪♪♪♪ - Nienasycenie - 2002

♪♪♪♪ - Upojenie (with Pat Metheny) - 2002

♪♪♪♪♪ - Farat (Live cd and dvd) - 2003

♪♪ - Secret - 2005

♪♪♪♪ - Niebo - 2005

♪♪♪♪ - ID - 2007

Jo & Co (BMW Jazz Club, volume 1, live) - 2008

♪♪♪ - Polanna (#1 of Lustra) - 2011

♪ - Haiku (#2 of Lustra) - 2011

♪♪ - Sobremesa (#3 of Lustra) - 2011

------------------------------------------------------------------------
♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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