“Karolina Cicha is one of Poland’s most accomplished and interesting vocalist, not least for the choice of muic she performs. Her NINE LANGUAGES album (2013), with the brilliant multi-instrumentalist Bart Pałyga, was performed in the nine languages found in her native Podlasie region of north-east Poland. Two of thise were Tatar songs, and here she has recorded a whole album of them, with Bart Pałyga throat singing and playing steppe-derived instruments and percussion.
The tatars first came as invaders in the 14th century, but some were encouraged to settle as they were superb warriors, and there’s Muslim Tatar population there to this day and two historic wooden mosques close to the Lithuanian bordeor east of Białystok. Nothing remains in Poland of the language and music, however, so Cicha has had to source songs from the Volga and Crimean Tatars, while the album ends with a new song in Polish telling their story.
The music is full of horse rythms, overtones and memories of steppe. It’s a significant step towards resurrecting a forgotten culture.”