Overflying boundaries – The new album "Tobie" (To You) by Dagadana
The year 2020 was extraordinary. The time of the pandemic also forced the Polish-Ukrainian band Dagadana to pause. After their previous album "Meridian 1968", (released on the Jaro label), where there were also Mongolian and Chinese influences, this time they looked exclusively at Slavic songs from Ukraine and Poland and their changed life circumstances. Grit Friedrich talked to one of the two singers about the album "Tobie" (To You) and a few technical discoveries.
"Hola Hola" is a tragic song“, explains Daga Gregorowicz, „the mother says to the daughter, your husband will beat you and destroy your life, and the daughter answers, no he will kiss me and everything will be fine. At the end the daughter says, now you can die, but first give me my dowryfor the wedding. At the end of the song we wanted to build a huge wall of sound, with a crazy saxophone, almost psychedelic, because it's an almost psychedelic folk song.“
Daga Gregorowicz learned this song from one of her masters, a singer from the Biskupizna region between Poznan and Wroclaw. His name: Franciszek Jesiak. For months she didn't meet him, just like her band colleagues. The idea for an album of songs full of good wishes, which in the traditional context are usually sung at Christmas time, came to drummer Bartosz Mikołaj Nazaruk after a tour in China, because there the audience sang along enthusiastically to just such a song, despite all the difficult Polish vowels and consonants. „That was long before those harsh Covid times, but that was when the war started in Ukraine, in the Donbass, and it goes on until today. In Poland there was this very difficult political situation. There is no dialogue, and that is very difficult for us, the young generation. We wanted to build a different future, we thought that our parents and grandparents learned their lesson from history. But we have a very bad memory as a society.“
The two Dagadana singers Daga Gregorowicz and Dana Vynnytska, she comes from Ukraine, met at a jazz workshop. They discovered each other's voices and the rich heritage of their respective home countries. For the new album they also wrote their own songs like „Inaczej“, which tells with astonishing tenderness about seeing the world with different eyes now and feeling how important family, friends and making music together are. And new doors opened. „There was more creativity and freedom for this album, because I never thought about what could fit now or what could get me streams. If I want to use crazy electronic, I just do it. We wanted to be true to ourselves and also show this feeling of anger, about this huge amount of music that is lying dormant inside us and can't come out because we can't meet with the audience.“
You can hear beautiful traditional vocals on "Tobie" by Dagadana, but also Jazz solos, Electronica and Worldmusic. Double bass player Mikółaj Pospieszálski was given an analogue Moog synthesiser, on which many bass lines for the new album were created. And Daga Gregorowicz learnt to fly with the help of a sound engineer „My instruments, the Kaoss Pads, pocket synthesizers and loopers, are used more by Djs, but I love them. I finally had the opportunity to create new worlds, we just had to flip a technology switch to do it, but nice people helped us. It sounds crazy, but the most important thing for me was that I could realise all my ideas in the studio.“
It doesn't really matter what the front women of Dagadana sing. Allthough they digged monthes in archives for the selection of the most deep wishing songs. As important is the strong and intense present-day gesture of their recordings. You can hear violin, double bass or hurdy-gurdy, floating brass and rap vocals. Dagadana's music remains difficult to categorise, a fact that singer Daga Gregorowicz is rather happy about. She says music is not only a passion and a beloved profession - it is our lifestyle. But when our lives suddenly change - the style of our music must also adapt.
„It would be great if people who listen to Jazz discover something in it and then maybe get interested in traditional music. Or if people who listen to traditional music say, this electronic music is not so bad, maybe I'll dive into it more. We have been connecting Poland and Ukraine for 13 years and now we definitely want to connect other worlds as well.“
Label Agora (Poland) I Tunes etc
A report about them next wednesday here, on MDR KULTUR 9 pm (german time)
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