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introduction                     personae                     thanks


He was born in 1945 in Zamość. After finishing the Jan Zamoyski Lyceum (1963) he enrolled at the Department of Architecture at Krakow University of Technology and excelled as a student regularly receiving scholarships for academic achievement.

In 1966 he joined the student cabaret Anawa founded by Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz, Marek Czuryło, Adam Pasternakiewicz, Ziemowit Pawluśkiewicz, Michał Pawluśkiewicz and Tadeusz Kalinowski. The artists called their style “a fairground market – circus art, occasionally interrupted by lyrical songs“ and argued that name of the cabaret was derived from French en avant – however, meaning that they “went forward looking back at the same time”.

Anawa period was marked by the first great hits written together by Marek Grechuta and Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz, among others Pomarańcze i mandarynki (a poem by J. Tuwim), Tango Anawa (lyrics: M. Czuryło, M. Grechuta).

In the Autumn of 1967 the cabaret was awarded the first prize and Marek Grechuta the second prize in the 6th National Contest of Student Singers. In 1968 he got the press Award of the Festival of Polish Music in Opole for the song Serce/Heart written by J.K. Pawluśkiewicz, with lyrics by L. Wiśniowska and A. Nowicki. In 1968 the cabaret won the first prize during the Festival of Cabarets in Cieszyn and moreover, Marek Grechuta and the band were awarded the first prize in the Art Festival of Students FAMA 68 in Świnoujscie. Another success came in 1969 at the Opole Festival when Grechuta got TV Award for the composition of Wesele/The Wedding based on the drama by Stanisław Wyspiański.

In the years 1967–1971 Grechuta scored a large number of popular hits often written to the lyrics of the pre-eminent Polish poets: Niepewność (1969, m. J. K. Pawluśkiewicz, lyrics. A. Mickie - wicz), the aforementioned Wesele (1970, m. M. Grechuta, lyrics: St. Wyspiański), Ocalić od zapomnienia (1971, m. M. Grechuta, lyrics: K. I. Gałczyński), as well as to poems by the artist himself: Będziesz moją panią (1970, m. M. Grechuta), Nie dokazuj (1970, m. J. K. Pawluśkiewicz), Świecie nasz (1971, m. J. K. Pawluśkiewicz). In 1971 the band released one of its best-selling albums Korowód/ Procession which was regarded as an anthem of the young generation. The band at that time reached the peak of its popularity and consisted of 8 members, including Marek Jackowski and Jacek Ostaszewski. During the 9th National Opole Festival the psychodelic song Korowód II written by M. Grechuta to the lyrics by Aleksander Leszek Moczulski got the Main Award.

In 1972 Marek Grechuta decided to change the style of his creative activity and founded the band WIEM (acronym for W Innej Epoce Muzycznej / In Different Musical Epoch). The band played in the years 1972–1975, released two LPs. The members of the band were among others Krzysztof and Paweł Ścierański.

In 1976 Marek Grechuta and Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz founded a new Anawa and released the album Szalona Lokomotywa/Crazy Locomotive based on texts by [prolific prewar multitalented artist] Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz. The LP featured Marek Grechuta and Maryla Rodowicz. In 1977 the song Hop szklankę piwa/ Gulp down a glass of beer was awarded the Grand Prix of the Opole Festival. The same year brought a musical adaptation of Szalona Lokomotywa. The performances, directed and coproduced by K. Jasiński with his STU Theatre, were full of extravaganza and travelled around Poland, gaining huge popularity.

In 1979 Grechuta composed an oratorio based on Psalms by Tadeusz Nowak entitled Zapach łamanego w rękach chleba / The Scent of a Broken Piece of Bread. A year later, the record containing songs written by Grechuta with lyrics by Nowak was released.

In 1980 he made music to lyrics of another Polish poet Bolesław Leśmian W malinowym chruśniaku / In the Brushwood of Raspberries. This was recorded together with an actress Krystyna Janda. A year later another LP was released, called Śpiewające obrazy/ Singing Pictures which was inspired by the famous painting masterpieces.

In the year 1990 a re-make of the most popular of his songs Złote przeboje / Golden Hitswas released. Next years brought more records: in 1991 the LP Piosenki dla dzieci i rodziców/ Songs for Children and Parents; in 1993 Dziesięć ważnych słów/ Ten Important Words and in 2003 Niezwykłe miejsca / Rare Places.

In 2004 Marek Grechuta and the rock group Myslovitz rerecorded the group’s song Kraków, whereby the classic song by Grechuta, Dni, których nie znamy / The Days We Don’t Know Yet became the anthem of the football club Korona Kielce.

The songs by Marek Grechuta were frequently inspiring the TV production of music shows. The most popular were Będziesz moją panią / You’ll be the Lady of My Heart (1969 directed by Grzegorz Lasota) Korowód/Procession (1971, Krystyna Bogusławska), Ogród Luizy / Luiza’s Garden (1979, directed by K. Szner, P. Karpiński), Malinowy Chruśniak (1980, S. Szlachtycz), Sztandary/Banners (1988, Andrzej Maj).

The artist was the recipient of many awards. The most important were The Fryderyk (in 2002 – two prizes: lifetime achievement award and a special award for re-recording), the Award of the Director General of the Polish TV (2006, for the lifetime achievement), Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2000). Posthumously Marek Grechuta was awarded with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (on the 17 October 2006).

During his entire career, Marek Grechuta gave thousands of concerts in Poland and in Europe (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Slovakia, then USRR) and in the USA, Canada and Australia and even in Cuba. His LPs were released in Czech Republic, Germany, and Holland.

Marek Grechuta died on 9 October 2006 and was buried at the Avenue of the Merited of the Rakowicki Cemetery in Krakow on the 17 October 2006.

Grechuta’s oeuvre was a unique phenomenon. His songs combined poetry and music in a subtle, melodious and perfect way, with poignancy which appealed to the hearts of the audience and thus made the artist enjoy immense popularity. The lyrics of one of the songs became a veritable motto for the Anawa:
“Important are the days we don’t know yet
Important are the moments we are looking forward to...”

In the words of Wojciech Majewski: “Marek Grechuta was a unique artist, the one and only of his genre… He was not a follower and he cannot and will not be replaced by anybody...”

The above vita is based on the text by Jakub Baran,
under auspices of Mrs Danuta Grechuta at www.grechutafestival.pl

photo by Zbigniew Łagocki

Copyright by Konrad Glos, Rafal Zub 2010