ARTICLES, INTERVIEWS

♦ STILO, CLASSICS OF NEW TRADITION

Łukasz Kamiński (daily “Gazeta Wyborcza/Stołeczna”, March 2008)

A little bit of magical Lisbon, rock drums, jazz sax, folk inspirations. The fourth album of STILO. Wojciech Stasiak, guitar player and founder of the band calls its sound as modern alternative music. You can find here inspirations of European musical tradition, folk, ethno, jazz and rock. Discography of STILO consists of four records, including “Idą czasy” awarded in Folk Phonogramme of the Year poll in 2004. The last one, “Lisboa Avenue’, was released in 2007.

Łukasz Kamiński: What inspired you to entitle new CD as ‘Lisboa Avenue’?
Wojciech Stasiak: It’s not an album with Portugal music only and it’s not dedicated to Lisbon only. After three journeys to Portugal this country just became the symbol for me, symbol of places that have their own, unique mood, genius loci. The title referred to this idea. Portugal guests’ appearance was a little bit of accidental. I’ve found Genoveva Faísca’ web-site when I was surfing through net. I wrote her an e-mail speaking that I like her singing and asking about collaboration in future. She wrote back after few months and agreed to record something with us. We had been recording an album that moment. She has invited to this project João Bengala – her friend playing on Portugal guitar.

And what about the cover?
I’ve met – via internet too – Joanna Łątka, Polish painter living in Lisbon. I liked her works and she agreed to give her painting with street of Lisbon on our cover.

Your music has changed. Sound was closer to world music, ethno or folk in the past. Now it’s jazz.
‘Lisboa Avenue’ was recorded with different musicians than, for example, ’Idą czasy’. You can clearly hear in our music influences of our rock drummer Jarek Cieślak and jazz saxophonist Janusz Żukowski.

What has happened with STILO since 2002 when you were awarded 1st prize at New Tradition festival and recorded ‘Idą czasy’ after that?
Unfortunately a little – as far as our position on music market is concerned. I think we are still just on the start. Of course there is a little bit of our guilt too, because we had some changes of line-up that all the time slowed down our activity. But main point is lack of professional scene for the music like ours. It’s very good job done by Radio Center of Folk Culture (Radiowe Centrum Kultury Ludowej) but there is almost nothing more. It is sad. In Poland we got many ethno bands playing truely undiscover hits, songs that could be broadcasted by popular radio stations. Maybe in the future… And maybe we will become classics after our deaths (laugh).

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♦ STYLE ON THE BORDERS

daily “Życie Warszawy”, 15.02.2008

Adam Ciesielski talks with Wojciech Stasiak, leader of STILO.

Where did STILO come from?
The most important thing was my wish to look for a music demanding concentration and courage of breaking the schemes from musicians. Music demanding constant work on myself, throwing away typical habits. But at the same time – music not too complicated, music full of improvisations but based on melodies and clearly composed, constructed. I was determined to avoid falling into trap very often encountered in instrumental jazz-rock music: solo player gives you a theme and then rest of the bandmates plays for an hour neverending improvisations on two chords.

There were a lot of Slavic, Balkan, Hungarian and Asian or Middle-eastern influences on your previous record “Szukaj!” Now you are promoting „Lisboa Avenue”, recorded with artists from Portugal. How did you find them? Have you ever been in this country?
I was in Portugal with my wife. We were raved by this country and this admiration started slowly to infiltrate into project of new album. It didn’t dominate the project but became leitmotiv. So we got this Portugal in title, on the cover – with painting made by Joanna Łątka, Polish artist living in Portugal – and in the form of two artists from Portugal. Genoveva Faísca and João Bengala appears in piece called „Lisboa Avenue” – she sings and he plays on Portugal guitar here. We have met them via MySpace and e-mails. We could record due to net. We have sent our tracks to Lisbon where João, in his home studio, added vocal and guitar parts. Then all their tracks were sent back to New Project Studio in Wołomin near Warsaw, where the album was made. Here all was mixed. By the way - we got another foreign guest, Iranian living in Warsaw, Mohammad Rasooli.

Will those two musicians from Lisbon help you on your promo tour, planned to go abroad too?
We would like to meet with those Portugal people on the stage, but for now we didn’t find any funds to bring them to Poland or to fly to Lisbon for concerts. For the time being, we go to Prague, Czech Republic, in May.

Apart from ethno I can hear rock, fusion, electro, trance-like rhythms in your music. You are beloved by fans of folk, jazz-rock and avant-garde world music. Where do you see place for your music?
On the border of all those styles. Most often people treat us as representatives of  ethno-jazz scene, but frankly speakin’ I guess we are closer to rock than other types of music. Of course we got lot of improvisations in our pieces but didn’t Hendrix improvise? And Clapton? Besides – for me even Vivaldi or Bach were rockmans too.

STILO has been existing for 8 years. You said recently that keeping in motion the band in Poland for a long time is some kind of miracle. Do you believe in miracles?
I do, because life is miracle, full of beauty that we have to discover again and again. That’s one of the reason why STILO plays – to show the world this beauty. We don’t achieve this every time but it’s worth to try. Of course the serious question is haven’t I got enough to do it in the country where there is almost no place for such a music? Where almost nobody is interested in releasing our album. Where non-folk music press never said a word about our band… But we still meet friendly souls on our ways and this brings back our belief in sense of this toil. Besides I still got great musicians around me, who want to be a part of STILO. It is a miracle too.

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ABOUT STILO IN CZECH LANGUAGE

Radio Proglas (www.proglas.cz), 20.12.2007 

Listen

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♦ ABOUT STILO IN PORTUGAL LANGUAGE

João Sá (folkmusic portal FolkMagazine.info, autumn 2007)

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MEDIA ABOUT STILO’ PERFORMANCE ON FINAL CONCERT OF NEW TRADITION 2002 FEST

Aneta Prymaka (daily “Gazeta Wyborcza” , 15.04.2002):
(…) In a moment we could listen to spontaneous, jazzy compositions of Polish-Turkish group STILO (I prize) and admired great instrumentalists, among others Sylwia Świątkowska, awarded special prize for her playing.
Grzegorz Kluska (music portal “Codzienna Gazeta Muzyczna – www.cgm.pl”, 18.04.2002):

(…) And finally we’ll tell you what our “applause-meter” showed us. It means, which artists, in our opinion, the audience liked the most. In accidental order. Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa, Stilo, Kontraburger, Swoją Drogą – greetings to fan-clubs of these bands, attending concerts.  :- )

Guy Ferraton (weekly “Varsaw Voice”, 18.04.2002):

The special highlanders’ fiddle award went to violinist Sylwia Świątkowska, a member of the Stilo band. Stilo, who presented instrumental compositions combining elements of ethno, jazz and rock, won the first award.

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CURIOUS SOUNDS

†Simon Mol, “Warsaw Voice”, 17.03.2002

Audience members were left in tears when Polish folk group Stilo performed „The Gates of Secrets”, a song by the Turkish group Yansimalar, at their March 7 concert at Natolin Culture Center.
The sextet’s repertoire included instrumental compositions drawing on Arabic, Asian and Persian folk rhythms, at times combining jazz to create an intriguing sound.

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♦ INTERVIEW FOR INDEPENDENT.PL

25.04.2001 r

Ziutek Vlepkarz: From where did the idea for the band’s name first emerge?
Wojtek Stasiak: Stilo is a beautiful, wild place by the Polish Baltic. There are forests, camping, beautiful, sandy beach and a lighthouse. The band’s name has nothing to do with the popular car brand.

It is difficult to describe the music you are playing.
There is no single definition of our music. It encompasses folk, a little bit of jazz, a little bit of rock, sometimes also elements of contemporary chamber music. I find such a combination very creative.

Is it on purpose, that you have no vocalist in the band?
Generally, yes. When I was creating STILO in 1997, I thought about music which wouldn’t take easy shots. A band with a vocalist has easier task. It is easy to built the whole concert on a few themes. The vocalist can elaborate on a simple idea for the first four minutes, then another four, and so it goes. I wanted to create for the audience an opportunity to make en effort – allow them truly hear what Sylwia is playing on her violin, allow them to open their minds for the music. But STILO is an open project, which may develop in various directions. It is our major rule.

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