ANKH - THE POWER OF LIFE
"Ankh - Poland's newest major progressive rock group". This is how they were described in the official guide to the Jarocin Rock Festival (Poland's answer to Glastonbury) where they won a record 5 prizes in 1993.
They have described themselves as: "a musical surgical operation". This 'operation' was founded in Kielce, Poland in 1991. Since then, they have observed the world and created their music that you can listen to on 4 unique albums. They don't meddle in politics - "it's immaterial and ephemeral". They believe in the "cosmic victory of good".
In early 1994 an eponymous "Ankh" album was released on cassette, (though some devotees call it 'Black') and shortly afterwards a cd containing the same material was released. This album enabled the band to maintain their artistic integrity whilst at the same time achieving commercial success. At the 1994 Jarocin Rock Festival, the band returned as special guests to a 'hero's welcome'. To coincide with the performance, the band chose to record a limited edition album consisting of a mixture of unplugged versions of both old and new compositions: "Ankh - Koncert akustyczny".
In January 1995, Ankh completed recordings for their next album "Ziemia i Slonce" ("The Earth And The Sun"). Musically the style was a progression from their debut album, and wholly independent from other sounds occurring in the Polish music scene.
The following years 1996-1997, saw a huge number of performances in and around Poland, these performances were both critically acclaimed and rapturously received by their fans. The group performed at each of a series of Charity Christmas Events throughout Poland, and at "Woodstock Stop" (the biggest rock music festival in Poland that attracts 100,000 people over it's three days) in 1996 and 1997. At this festival Ankh were voted as the most popular band by the audiences in both of their performances.
1997 was a year of change and development. Against a background of growing demand for teen music, boy bands and catchy three minute jingles, (extremely popular with the major labels) Ankh found themselves in a search for a new record company where they could avoid conforming to such excessive commercialism and continue recording their challenging creations. Fortunately for the music scene, Ankh succeeded in their search, and were signed by the record label “FOLK”. The year 1997 was also a year of upheaval with the original drummer being dismissed from the band and replaced by two drummers. A viola player was also added to the band for some live performances and album tracks to create a sound of epic proportions. The album, “....bedzie tajemnica,” (It Will Be A Mystery) was started in November 1997, completed in January and released in March 1998. Naturally the sound of Ankh differed from previous albums. Before the changes the Ankh sound had centred around the violin, following the changes more emphasis was put on rhythm to complement the distinctive guitar and violin sound. In the summer of ’98, the band also released a new single “BLAAZA” with their first ever video to complement the release.
The album "....bedzie tajemnica" consists of four themes that symbolise the elements (Earth, Wind, Fire and Water), within each element are three compositions. On this album Ankh are continuing their mission of innovation and creating continual originality in a climate increasingly dominated by derivative music. The album was again critically acclaimed and confirms Ankh’s place as the most important group in the current Polish rock scene.
In April 1999, Ankh played a memorable concert - for themselves and the audience - at the Volksbühne Theatre in Berlin. The theatre, internationally renowned for embracing a variety of uncommercial bands, recognised Ankh as a band who produce challenging and individual music and the reception that the band received was electric.
In December 1999 the group was invited by Brasilian company ROCK SYMPHONY and took part
in the Rio Art Rock Festival ’99. Seven bands from five different countries
– Brasil, Venezuela, Argentina,
Sweden and Poland. Ankh’s gig was said to be the best of the festival. In 2001 the group went to Mexico, Mexicali to take part at Baja Prog V Progressive Rock Music Festival The next year - in May 2002 Ankh played two shows in USA: in NY and Chicago. The music for a new album was released by Rock Symphony (Brasil) and Metal Mind Production (Poland). In March 2003 the band was invited again to Baja Prog VII - eg. to Mexicali in far north Mexico. There was a world premiere of the new album "Expect Unexpected".
27.02.2008 Ankh was given a special, honoured prize of the Minister of Culture and Heritage - in the name of "Deserved For Polish Culture". This kind of a special title was given first time in Poland to the rock band, to appreciate the American way of the polish band. We are very happy after that and ready to get some new tasks and spread our music moreover around the world. The new pieces for the forthcoming album are almost ready and should be released in the late of 2008.
Piotr Krzeminski guitar, vocals
Krzysztof Szmidt bass
Michal Pastuszka keyboards, guitars
Jan Proscinski drum/percussion
Ernest Gawel keyboards
|Other Contributors: Andrzej
Lukasz Lisowski viola
Michal Jelonek violin
& Moonlight Drive: Marek Tomalik
Cinema Vacek - virtual scenography, active projection, psycho animation. www.cinema.bluenet.pl
Englishman Abroad Gareth Saunders
Piotr Krzeminski & Michal Pastuszka