Monday, August 17, 2015

Maanam — Maanam


   Rock music from its very beginning was rebellious form of music culture. It was element of new generation group identity in sixties and probably most universal way to protest against war in Vietnam and politics. When older generations were losing their radical views, next generations were coming with new subversive powers. Behind the iron curtain it was even more complicated by political and propaganda context of any element of cultural activity. Original rock music was a phenomenon mobilizing whole generations against some specific ideas; in countries of East Europe it always had antiestablishment and antigovernment overtones. That’s why rock was so unpopular in official media and why so many young people were interested in progressive rock music which was combined radicalism and artistic sophistication. In late seventies it was still more popular than punk rock which was too much nihilistic for moods in seventies. In eighties whole situation has changed. But there were musicians who fill the wind of change earlier than whole society. One of such bands was Polish new wave band Maanam.
   Future avant-garde of new wave in Poland, Maanam started as alternative duo MaM of two guitarists Marek Jackowski and Milo Kurtis. They were playing improvised mystic world music based on oriental elements. In 1976, after Kurtis started to play in Ossian, Marek Jackowski with John Porter and singer Kora Jackowska started to play under the new name Maanam – Elektryczny Prysznic (Electric Shower). This was already the rock band and its music was increasingly radical. Three years later in 1979 Maanam debuted in new line-up with Kora and Marek Jackowski with bassist Krzysztof Olesiński, guitarist Ryszard Olesiński and Ryszard Kupidura. The same year Maanam recorded their first single with Marek Jackowski’s evergreen Oprócz (Except). Next year band made their sensational debut in Opole Festival in June 1980 achieving great triumph and repeatedly encored in gala concert transmitted by national television in prime time.

Maanam —  Maanam (1981)

   The legendary presentation in Opole was the moment new band took privileged position in Polish rock music. Two songs Boskie Buenos (Buenos Aires) and Żądza pieniądza were shortly issued as official single and one of consequences was immediate record contract. In August 1980 the band started recording debut album in Studio of Polish Radio Station in Lublin. During two weeks session (August 25th to September 10th) band had changed drummer. Four songs were recorded with Ryszard Kupidura and next five with new drummer Paweł Markowski. In song Biegnij razem ze mną (Run with Me Together) alto saxophone solo was recorded by famous Polish jazz musician Zbigniew Namysłowski. This made Maanam position prominent for the decade; even if there were more popular rock bands like Perfect, or closer to new wave and synth pop like Republika, Maanam was the only successful band balancing these styles.
   This unique feature makes Maanam the most significant band of eighties in Poland. It was recognized not only in Poland, but also in many other European countries, especially in Germany. Prominence of the band had its source in numerous musical qualities and in social recognition of the band. Maanam’s music was original connection of rock in its rebellious shape with some elements of punk rock which was rebellious as well and discipline giving songs compact form. This was outlined by straight, energetic instrumental rock riffs with short, strong solos and by poetic, surreal atmosphere, based on lyrics by Kora. The independent position of Maanam was partly created by extravagance and eccentric behavior of vocalist. In 1980 it was something new in Poland. The fact band was widely recognized was also a significant factor. The style of debut eponymous album is interesting implementation of new radical sound in Polish music and basis for the new Wave movement in eighties. Four stars for historic position of this debut. 

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