Friday, December 16, 2016

Nika Lubowicz – Noc Nad Betlejem (2016)

Nika Lubowicz

Nika Lubowicz - vocals
Dawid Lubowicz - violin, viola
Jakub Lubowicz - keyboards
Sebastian Zając - accordion
Marcin Murawski - bass
Krzysztof Szmańda - drums

Noc Nad Betlejem



FOR TUNE 0114

By Adam Baruch

This is second Christmas album I am writing about this year, which is highly unusual, as I mostly keep away from Christmas albums as far as I can, not that I have anything against Christmas per se, but because Christmas albums are usually pretty atrocious musically. However, for the second time it turns out that Christmas albums can be artistic and musically fulfilling.

Polish Jazz vocalist Nika Lubowicz, a member of the famed Lubowicz clan, gathered her two brothers: violinist Dawid Lubowicz and keyboardist Jakub Lubowicz, her husband accordionist Sebastian Zając, bassist Marcin Murawski, drummer Krzysztof Szmańda and a couple of guests, and together they perform ten Christmas Carols, six of which were composed by Nika's father Stanisław Lubowicz, one by Wacław Geiger and three are traditional Carols newly arranged for this album.

The music carries the Christmas spirit, as expected, but it is also rich in wonderful arrangements, some more Jazz oriented and others less so, and of course features Nika's lovely vocals, which are always a pleasure to listen to. Everything is kept in relaxed, almost blessed atmosphere, with the music and instrumental passages working perfectly together to create a coherent, highly aesthetic message.

The music also includes some Folklore elements, related to the Polish Highlanders, who live near the southern border of the country in the Tatra Mountains and the town of Zakopane, which of course is Nika's home ground. Overall this is a gorgeous, moving album, which although Christmas oriented, is perfectly listenable any day of the year, and which emphasizes the diversity and beauty of the Polish Culture.

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