The Saint Nicholas Orchestra is one of the most appreciated ensembles on the Polish folk scene. It was established over thirty years ago. During this time, its composition, instruments, and musical style have changed. Only its high artistic level remained unaltered. Over the three decades of its operation, the SNO has released over ten albums. The versatility of the music, which it has included in its subsequent releases, shows the unusually broad artistic horizons behind the project. The band's work also consists of various source materials from which it draws inspiration. It can be heard in the songs themselves, which refer to the widely understood Polish tradition, including folk songs from the vicinity of Lublin, Podhale and Lesser Poland, and in compositions that apply to a broader stylistic spectrum, dominated by the Hutsul and Lemko elements. The variety of its style is also manifested in the full range of sounds used. In the recordings, we will hear a cornucopia of sound colours realized on such different instruments as cymbals, nyckelharpa, shepherd pipes and mandola, cobza, and dutar.
In recent years, the Saint Nicholas Orchestra has undergone a metamorphosis. Bassist Zbyszek Kowalczyk and drummer Jacek Warszawa have joined the ensemble bringing their original style derived from popular music. Thanks to this, the new rhythm section gave a characteristic pulsation to new songs. In addition to the folk sound, there will be room for reggae and progressive-rock experiments. Music understood in this way allows the recipient to read the message of the Saint Nicholas Orchestra as a phenomenon embedded in a deep musical tradition. At the same time, the ensemble gives a breath of relevance and vitality to the folk aspect.
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The Saint Nicholas Orchestra