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Prog Folk • Poland

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Kontraburger biography
Hailing from Warsaw, this band generically tagged as 'art folk' have gathered that before putting out a debut album, it would be best to make a name for themselves first. And so they did. Two years after having been established as a group, KONTRABURGER performed in 2001 at one of the most important Polish folk festivals where they were actually granted the first prize. From then on, several more festival attendances followed including Tanz & FolkFest in Germany and New Tradition in Poland, plus a much awaited album in 2002. The seven-piece (Maga - vocals; Malgorzata Litwinowicz - flute; Jarek Kaczmarek and Wojciech Stasiak - acoustic guitars; Sylwia Świątkowska - violin; Tomasz Żur - bass guitar; Janusz Kossakowski - percussion) recorded their self-titled and thus far sole album with the help of Malgorzata Madejska who provided additional vocals, and who eventually joined the band as a full-time member.
"Kontraburger" explores a wonderfully eclectic range of sounds: form celtic notes to oriental flavoured modulations or from psych to flamenco bits, creating a surprisingly cohesive musical mosaic, which saw the band elaborate a unique personal style on the music scene.
Highly recommended to prog folk fans, fantasy enthusiasts, as well as eclectic music devotees in general.

Kontraburger official website:

Written by Lizzy.

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KONTRABURGER discography

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4.20 | 6 ratings

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 Kontraburger by KONTRABURGER album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.20 | 6 ratings

Kontraburger Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars Here's another band I was attracted to because of the album cover, even though the band itself was unknown to me. Kontraburger's lone release features the 1573 Giuseppe Arcimboldo painting 'Winter', one of the later issues in a series that includes 'Water', which was the cover art for the 1975 Kansas release 'Masque'.

But inside the artwork comes an even more exciting discovery - the music. Kontraburger are an up-and-coming and pretty unassuming group of Polish folk musicians whose blending of all kinds of musical styles results in a thoroughly entertaining and adventurous prog folk album. The sounds here include psychedelic, ethnic jazz, something akin to post-punk at times, and what can only be described as Celtic snippets. A very difficult band to classify, but prog folk seems like a nice place for them to find a home.

Several of the tracks here are loosely based on literary themes, including a reworked Icelandic tune labeled "Smok" with eerie violin and extended instrumental wanderings; the French poet Charles Baudelaire's "Litany to Satan"; and some almost carnival passages based on works of the Italian author Eugenio Barba ("San Marino"). In addition the band manages to incorporate world music influences in the form of the Ukrainian folk song "Bida" as well as "Małgorzata", which is inspired by the Russian novelist Mihail Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita".

There's so much to absorb here from a lyrical and literary standpoint, but what cannot be overlooked is the wonderful and intricate music itself. The predominant instrument is Sylwia Świątkowska's violin, which is moody, often dissonant and seductive, and particularly impressive considering this young lady was apparently only in her twenties when this album was recorded. She later appeared as a member of the Warsaw Village Band but according to the band's web site is still a member of Kontraburger. Malgorzata Litwinowicz adds flute, and while not as dominant it adds greatly to the folk atmosphere and enhances the eastern Slavic feel of the music.

This is a really wonderful collection of world music of an acoustic folk nature that will instantly appeal to folk music fans of just about any stripe, as well as world music nuts and anyone who takes a fancy to stringed music. I've only had it for a short while and am continuing to explore the music while trying to absorb the various fantasy and literary themes of the lyrics. Undoubtedly I'll be wandering back this way to add another star to this album once I become completely enamored, but for now I'll respect the slow aging process that led to other albums becoming 'masterpieces' to me, and leave this one at a very solid four stars and a heavy expectation for long staying power on my heavy rotation list. Enjoy.


Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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