European Music Fair 2014 - We Draw A, Sorry Boys, Paula and Karol, The Dumplings and More | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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European Music Fair 2014, European Music Fair 2014: Day One, European Music Fair 2014: Day Two, Paula i Karol, Sorry Boys, The Dumplings, We Draw A

European Music Fair 2014 - We Draw A, Sorry Boys, Paula and Karol, The Dumplings and More, November 30th, 2014

Dec 08, 2014 Photography by Laura Studarus
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One of the nicer surprises of my life so far has been falling in love with Poland. I find myself often in the country for the simple reason that of all the places I’ve visited, people are simply more willing to share their culture, ideas, and lives. (Google hits on the phrase “Polish Hospitality”: 35,500,000) It’s simple: excitement begets excitement.

The European Music Fair (Targi Muzyczne CJG if your Polish is up to the challenge) operates on a similar principal, opening the book on nearly every aspect of Poland’s music scene. The modest event serves as a meeting point for many different kinds of people, catering to music fans eager to catch a glimpse of established and upcoming artists, industry professionals looking to share ideas and business cards, and foreign visitors trying to figure out just what’s going on in this country we so rarely talk about at home. (Short answer: a lot.)  

Held in Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science (an imposing Socialist monument/building in the dead center of town), the three-day fair echoes a small-scale SXSW, its slate of events divided into a trade fair, slate of panel discussions, and showcase concerts.

Surprisingly enough, not actually speaking Polish wasn’t a roadblock when it came partaking and enjoying the festivities. First: much of the action is self-explanatory. You don’t need translation to realize that yes, that’s a radio station broadcasting in the corner. Secondly, nearly everyone speaks English. It’s shocking and more than a bit humbling. (I hereby resolve to pick up a Polish phrase book and learn something other than the all-important toasting phrase, “Na zdrowie.”) Sure, the panels featuring topics ranging from Women in music industry to the fascinating subgenre Disco Polo were held in Polish. But thanks to an instant professional translation service, I was able to play along in real time. (A fact that felt strangely thrilling, like having linguistic super powers.)

Afternoon events gave way to evening shows. Still a modest event, most concerts took place at the adjoining Cafe Kulturalna, a small venue with some seriously delicious pasta and beer. (During the Polish winter it’s important to consume as many carbs as humanly possible—or so I kept telling myself.) There the real fun began. As a country who has yet to establish a flagship artist on the international scene (unless you count French artist Woodkid, who’s half Polish, or Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa), pretty much every band who took the stage was an enjoyable surprise. A predication: in ten years saying you’re from Warsaw will be a badge of cool, not unlike saying you’re from Berlin is now.

A rundown of the weekend’s most impressive acts:

Sorry Boys:

Lead by vocalist/keyboardist Bela Komoszyńska, Warsaw-based five-piece Sorry Boys packs an emotional wallop into their anthemic rock. PJ Harvey would be proud.

We Draw A:

I fell in love with We Draw A at Open’er this year—so admittedly the KAMP! side project wasn’t a bolt from the blue. But since this summer the Wroclaw-based duo has released their debut full-length Moments, and proved themselves to be notable newbies in the ambient/electro/pop scene. Deliciously moody.

The Dumplings:

Another band proving that Poland might just be the place to be when it comes to electro pop are The Dumplings. Still young (seventeen and nineteen!) the duo were signed after a video of them performing went viral. Minimal, melancholic, and sophisticated without losing their sense of fun, it’s hard to believe they’re only on their first release.

Paula and Karol:

Their nickname is “The Happiest Band in Warsaw.” A tribute to the power of smiling (it’s probably their favorite), Paula, Karol (and their gang of friends) proved that being cool and aloof is overrated.

I’m sure most recaps are meant to end with some form of wrap-up. What does it all mean? The Polish music industry as a whole is still a growing industry. It’s still too early to boil it down to one thing or another. But if there’s one takeaway from the European Music Fair it’s this—the future is bright.

Check out photos from day one here.

Check out photos from day two here.

Hear The Dumplings Mixtape here

(www.facebook.com/WeDrawA)

(www.facebook.com/sorryboysmusic)

(www.facebook.com/TheDumplings)

(www.facebook.com/paulaikarol)




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Caleb
December 10th 2014
6:49am

Thanks for the news and fresh music.
Sorry Boys - love this voice,
Paula i Karol - probably the best among the listed ones,
The Dumplings - pretty much dated music, nothing too exciting or catchy and quite safe on top of this, but still ok.
We draw A - I’ll stick to this one for the evening! Nice voice again.
I’ve been there twice so far and I think Poland has much more to show than this in terms of music

Wojciech
December 11th 2014
4:55am

If you want to learn more about Polish alternative music scene have a look at this!

Wojciech
December 11th 2014
4:56am

Forgot the link as usual :)
http://culture.pl/en/article/poland-will-be-the-next-iceland