Czeslaw Niemen | Artist

Czeslaw Niemen | Artist

Tags: Era_1960s, Genre_Fusion, Genre_Prog, Origin_Poland, Type_Artist

Czesław Juliusz Wydrzycki aka Niemen was a Polish singer-songwriter and progressive rock musician born 1939 in Staryya Vasilishki, Poland (now part of Belarus). Niemen was one of the most important and original Polish singer-songwriters and rock balladeers of the 20th century, singing mainly in Polish. In the lead-up to WWII Neimen's ethnic Polish homeland was annexed by the Soviet Union, and much of the artist's work reflects his protestations over the loss of cultural tradition and the communist state. He made his debut in the early 1960s, singing Polish rock and soul music, characterised by his unusually wide voice range and equally rich intonation. He was also an ardent composer and a keyboard player. In 1964 at Congress Hall, Warsaw, Niemen and his group played as a support act to actress and cabaret performer Marlene Dietrich, who would later put her own lyrics to one of Niemen's songs. Soon after his first successful concerts in France, he started to use the pseudonym Niemen, gaining wider notoriety inside and outside of Poland. His 1967 blues-influenced song "Dziwny jest ten świat" (Strange Is This World) is commonly acknowledged to be the most important Polish protest song of that era; an English version was also recorded in 1972. He was one of the first Polish performers to wear long hair and colourful clothes and introduced the style of psychedelia to Poland, which displeased communist officials. Niemen's first three albums were with his band "Akwarele" (Watercolours). Subsequently, he recorded with other bands: "Enigmatic", "Grupa Niemen" and "Aerolit". In 1969 he changed his musical style to progressive rock, which comes through in his critical and commercial breakthrough album Enigmatic (1970). The album Enigmatic is viewed by many critics as a complete rock record, but with a European pop sensibility. The use of the opera-like vocals suggests Gainsbourg / Vannier comparisons, while the exchanges between Niemen's vocals and organ playing have overtones of the English rock sound of Joe Cocker and Procol Harum. Up until his death in 2004 at the age of 64, Niemen released 21 studio albums plus live albums, EPs and Singles. Standout albums include Enigmatic (1970), Neimen Enigmatic (1971), Neimen Vol. 2 (1972) and Neimen Aerolit (1975). In the early 1970s, Niemen recorded three English language albums on the CBS label, two of them with the Silesian Blues Band (SBB). Also with SBB Niemen performed at the Rock & Jazz Now! opening show for the 1972 Olympics in Munich sharing the stage with Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin and Charles Mingus.

Artist Website: wikipedia/Czeslaw_Niemen

Featured Albums: Czeslaw Nieman

Related Artists: Breakout, Niemen Enigmatic, SBB

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