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WOJCIECH CIURAJ

Crossover Prog • Poland


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Wojciech Ciuraj picture
Wojciech Ciuraj biography
Born 20 April 1994 (Wodzisław Śląski, Poland)

Wojciech CIURAJ is a Polish musician and composer best known as the guitarist, mandolinist and vocalist in the band WALFAD. His poetic lyrics and characteristic, unique voice make him one of the most interesting figures in the Polish progressive rock. In his solo career, he explore other areas of progressive music than in WALFAD. His solo debut - ?Ballady bez Romansów? was released in 2016. In his first album he showed, that he have wide music horizons and the world will soon hear about him.

Biography provided by the artist and used with permission

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WOJCIECH CIURAJ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 6 ratings
Ballady Bez Romansów
2017
4.04 | 5 ratings
Iskry W Popiele
2019
3.93 | 9 ratings
Dwa Żywioły
2020
3.29 | 5 ratings
Kwiaty na Hałdzie
2021

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WOJCIECH CIURAJ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dwa Żywioły by CIURAJ, WOJCIECH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.93 | 9 ratings

BUY
Dwa Żywioły
Wojciech Ciuraj Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars 2020 saw the release of the second album in Wojciech's triptych about the three Silesian uprisings. Interestingly, he decided to take this album in a different direction musically and brought in a totally new group of musicians (who themselves are primarily Silesian), to create something that had a broader base. This means we get the likes of renowned Polish jazz trumpeter Piotr Schmidt and legendary hip hop singer Abradab of Kaliber 44, as he blends hip hop, jazz, blues rock, film music and progressive rock. Also, this album contains only five songs, with "Four Rivers Suite" itself being 25 minutes long. Each part of "Four Rivers Suite" relates to a different Silesian River, the Rawa, Brynica, Kłodnica and Odra. They combine to tell the turbulent story of The Second Uprising and together provide descriptions of events that not only date back to those turbulent days, but contemporary Silesia as well.

One of my complaints with the first release is that I really wanted to understand what was taking place in the story, and although this has again only been released in Polish, this time the booklet contains lyrics in both English and Polish, so it is possible to follow the narrative. At the beginning of the booklet there are two pages of words, but the combination of the font, colour, background picture and sheer size, makes it impossible to read with the naked eye. Taking photos and blowing them up allows me to understand that this is detailing what happened, in both Polish and English, but I do wish it had been further spread out, so it had been more legible.

As with the first CD in the series, this is packed full of drama and emotion, as Wojciech sings about what happened in his homeland one hundred years earlier, as Silesians fought to become part of Poland and move away from Germany. The whole musical approach is quite different though, being truly more progressive as he blends in different instruments and styles. Somehow it feels broader, with more depth, and the passion and power contained with "Andrzej Mielęcki", whose murder kicked off the Second Silesian Uprising is incredible. The way that piece contains punching electric guitars and mandolin provides wonderful contrast. It is the mandolin which also leads us into the longest song on the album, "Four Rivers Suite", but that soon gives way to symphonic prog and wonderful piano rising above it all. Yet again, the area was at war with a country it saw as an occupying enemy, and we feel that in the music, while the river ebbs and flows. This is by far the most musically complex, as Wojciech gives himself the time and space to bring this part of the story to fruition. This series is an incredibly personal piece of work, with Wojciech shining a strong light on area of history that many of us in the West just have no idea at all even exists. I look forward to hearing the culmination.

 Iskry W Popiele by CIURAJ, WOJCIECH album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.04 | 5 ratings

BUY
Iskry W Popiele
Wojciech Ciuraj Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Released in 2019, this is the first in a trio of albums being released by Walfad mainman Wojciech Ciuraj telling the story of the three Silesian uprisings in 1919, 1920, and 1921. For those who are unaware, during its history Silesia has belonged to Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria. The uprisings took place due to a desire make Silesia Polish again, and Wojciech is a native Silesian who has ancestors who were on both sides of the conflict. Being a historian, he wanted to celebrate the centenary of the events and hence the triptych of releases. Anyone who has any interest in Polish progressive rock music will of course be a huge fan of SBB, one of the most important bands to ever come out of the country, and their original name was Silesian Blues Band, and it is incredibly fitting that multi-instrumentalist Józef Skrzek (who along with guitarist Apostolis Anthimo has been the constant) guests on this release.

Aimed at the local market, all lyrics are in Polish, while there is also narration from Polish actor Marian Dziędziel. This album tells the story of the first uprising, and Wojciech has wonderfully clear and powerful vocals. There is real drama within the music, and the combination of violin and viola with keyboards is incredibly powerful. There are times when it feels quite orchestral, but then the guitars break through to remind everyone this is a rock album first and foremost. I wish I was able to understand what is going on lyrically as it is obvious that the music and words are closely interlinked. At times it moves into crossover, while at others it is more symphonic and overtly progressive, and piano is often an underlying instrument. At times the use of acoustic guitar is also incredibly important, combining with the strings to create something quite beautiful.

Combined with the pictures in the booklet, it has led me to undertake some research of my own on this area of history, as it was something I knew nothing about, coming as I do from an island that made its business to invade other people but avoided being invaded itself since 1066. Although countries with Europe changed borders at different times, this release has made me think of the impact on the people actually living in those impacted areas.

 Kwiaty na Hałdzie by CIURAJ, WOJCIECH album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.29 | 5 ratings

BUY
Kwiaty na Hałdzie
Wojciech Ciuraj Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

3 stars Wojciech Ciuraj is this musician working on Walfad, releasing here his 4th CD under his name on a progrock frame and atmospheric integrations. It distills a singular sound struck by the Polish prog school with typical singing. Intense, bewitching and rhythmic compositions.

'' Czas wyboru '' on prog rock with Hammond and strong percussions bringing Wojciech's voice in Polish; dark atmosphere and tortured solo. '' Linia Korfantego's with a percu-piano letting through a masterful and melancholy tune of great beauty and '' Kontury 'comes to a progressive song, divine voice of Karolina combined with the bass of Claudia; explosive and enjoyable crescendo on the guitar solo of Apostolis. '' Z kamienia i nocy '' for the radio rock track, energized with the addition of Marta's belching sax. '' Znikąd (w zasięgu kościelnych dzwonów) '' more ballad rock with crystal-clear guitar notes on a crescendo jazz-rock percussive hit and the addition of Christopher's moog from ProAge.

'' W objęciach czarnych hałd '' continues by distilling a rock crossover ready to lose you in the twists and turns of its classification. "Pieron" returns to a haunting sound, plaintive then explosive guitar on Wojciech's belching voice very repetitive. '' Bitwa o Górę św. Anny '' even darker with a spleen mandolin, rhythmic tune, phrased voice then digression on the sax and '' Dom stoi tam gdzie stał '' intervenes breaking this atmosphere with the most beautiful progressive title, Karolina's voice reminding me of that of 'Anna d'Albion for her purity; a devilishly damn dreamlike climb. '' Czerwiec 1922 '' and the final chorus of the group Olzanki as the final.

Wojciech has therefore released the last part of his trilogy on the Silesian uprisings by offering concise titles full of prog links on initially rock atmospheres, intimate breaks and contemplative atmospheres; an album stuffed with young blood.

 Ballady Bez Romansów by CIURAJ, WOJCIECH album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.08 | 6 ratings

BUY
Ballady Bez Romansów
Wojciech Ciuraj Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars In between the third and fourth Walfad albums, singer and guitarist Wojciech Ciuraj took time out to record a solo album, bringing in different musicians and flavours from what he had been doing within the band setup. It is based on the works of Adam Mickiewicz, who is apparently often referenced as Poland's greatest poet. One of his most popular books was 1822's 'Ballady i romanse', so I presume this is being reference in the title. Unlike the Walfad albums this is only available in Polish, which given that it is referencing Polish poetry makes total sense. The album shows Ciruaj embracing his more reflective side, and especial mention must be made of the use of flute, which adds additional melody, and some gorgeous bass, while his own singing is some of the finest I have heard from him.

He definitely seems to come to life more in this style of music, which contains great depth, beautiful arrangements and some luscious guitar as well. I have never had an issue listening to music with vocals in another language, as it allows me to drift into the sound, only to be woken up the superb guitar solo contained within the title track itself. I enjoy Walfad's albums, but having played this quite a few times now I hope that this isn't the last we hear of this approach, and that Ciuraj returns with another of these in the near future, as this has wonderful nuances and pop melodies contained within a highly accessible album.

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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