The world is changing. Poland has got funk!
I’ve been watching the slow growth of funk in Poland ‘from the inside’ for a few years now. It’s safe to say that the emergence of funk is a relatively new phenomenon in Poland. Some may argue that funk had, to some extent, filtered into Polish society in the ’70s and ’80s but never with the same vigour as in recent years.
I’d say that funk really made it’s mark in Poland around five or six years ago, a few years after I arrived in Łódź. I was lucky enough to meet, get to know and party with those whom I believe helped make funk a tantalisingly grooving success for Poland’s young grooving masses. I even had the pleasure of playing a few gigs with them but my ‘set’ was always more of an eclectic mix which although based on funk also incorporated a variety of anti-funk cheesy tunes and odd J-pop ditties.
I noticed a marked increase in the popularity of funk thanks to the mighty musical warriors of Soul Power in the guise of The Bridge, Pom, Captain Sparky and Maceo Wyro who first hit the Polish scene playing their mix of afro-funk, nu-funk with a great big slice of comedy. Those were outrageous gigs full of heaving crowds, laughter and a lots of phat, churning grooves. Unfortunately, Soul Power only lasted a short time and spawned other related projects which got other Polish DJs involved in funk and ‘feel-good’ music.
However, the importance of the release of Polish Funk stems from the fact that it isn’t just a bunch of DJs playing Amercian, English or European funk in Poland. Polish Funk is – as the title suggests – a collection of funk from Poland, rare and interesting grooves from ’60s’ and ’70s’ communist Poland. Poland is well-known for its long list of great jazz men and women but few know that the Poles also produced some interesting little grooves way back then. This album is a testament to that.
The songs were selected and re-mastered by Soul Service, Captain Sparky, Papa Zura, Burn Reynolds and DJ Misty, without doubt some of the funniest and intelligent people I have known. The album has proved such a success that the Soul Service chaps have now released Polish Funk 2 – an album that continues in the same vein and also a Polish Funk Mix album where the two albums get the Soul Service mix treatment.
It’s always interesting when a new generation gets re-introduced to elements of its own culture that were thought lost and gone. Polish Funk has done just that.