"Tribute to Jacek Kaczmarski" Top 5 Page for this destination Warsaw Travelogue by matcrazy1
Warsaw Travel Guide: 2,951 reviews and 7,129 photos
This page is dedicated to the memory of my friend, Jacek Kaczmarski who has always been an inspiration to me... Kaczmarski died at the age of 47, on Easter Saturday, 10 April 2004, at Gdansk hospital. He suffered from larynx cancer. Sadness...
When this nation was occupied by the last regime, people tended to look for symbols that would give them hope for better times. Objects, people and events sometimes became an archetype, to be looked up to, just to withstand the authorities.
Jacek Kaczmarski, undoubtedly, became such a symbol. He was a poet and singer, able to conceal the real meaning of his poems from censorship and, still remaining fully understandable to his public. Among his many works, a song "Mury" ("Walls") was considered a real anti-Communist anthem and was broadcasted by Radio Free Europe. Kaczmarski played a similar role for Poles, as Dylan played for Americans, I think, as Dylan's songs stood-up against evil, violence and human stupidity, so did Kaczmarski's.
Finally he was a friend to me and my wife, just a FRIEND. First we used to play the guitar and sing his songs, during long night meetings at the university dormitory which was forbidden by communist authorities. When he came back to Poland after the fall of communism, we met him personally and quickly became friends. We will never forget the great hours spent together, long talks on history, Poland, the world, humanity and... women. And there were his long calls from Australia, his deep love of the people and Poland, his music, songs and words. He always saw more than others. He could describe it and sing it with the great passion of his deeply Polish and Slavic soul. Now, the world is no longer the same for us... sadness... but his hundreds of songs will remain alive in our hearts forever. Non omnis moriar, Jacek !
Born in 1957, Jacek Kaczmarski had studied Polish language and literature at Warsaw University. He began his career in the mid-70's. He was a laureate of Krakow's Student Song Festival and the Festival of Genuine Songs in Gdansk.
In the late 70's he performed throughout Poland at concerts organized by the political dissidents of the day. From 1981 he worked at Radio Free Europe, performed in Europe and America and spent several years in Australia.
He gained widespread popularity with his song about the collapse of the iron curtain "And the Walls Come Tumbling Down" Kaczmarski's works appeared on many recordings including the above mentioned “Walls”, “Paradise”, “The Museum", “In Praise of Scoundrels” and “The War between Lent and Mardi Gras”. He also wrote books, often containing autobiographical elements. They included: “Self portrait with a Scoundrel”, “Life Upside Down”, “Beach for Dogs” and “About Angels Some Other Time”. His “Drink of the Anaks” a novel about working at Radio Free Europe was released in 2001.
Several years ago he was diagnosed with cancer of the throat. In 2002, he underwent surgery in Austria. At that time, fund-raising concerts were held in many Polish cities to help finance his treatment.
The funeral ceremony started at midday on Saturday 24 April at the Powazki Cemetery in Warsaw.
He was not religious, he was "devil's , purguratory's and divine". He was christianised before death. The ceremony was Roman catholic.
Never ending thousands of Kaczmarski's friends and fans from Poland, France, Australia, USA etc. came with candles in their hands.
Kaczmarski was burried at Avenue of the Meritorious among the most famous Poles.
He asked for no official speeches but "Lacrimosa" - the last part of Mozart's "Requiem" to be played at his funeral. And they played it to Him with great, great passion!
His close friend, a famous Polish actor (living in Paris now) Andrzej Seweryn recited two poems by Kaczmarski.
People came with candles following words from Kaczmarski's song: "They were lighting thousands of candles for him". Suddenly endless crowds standing far and close around His grave started to sing louder and louder the most famous of Kaczmarski's song: "Walls" which was very, very touching.
I was surprised to see a lot of young and very young people at his grave. Jacek, you won hearts of the next generations. Great sign for future!
Kaczmarski wrote over 800 poems most of which became songs and were recorded. They were never translated into English, hmm... I doubt whether they are transferrable at all.
Just in case... His 5 CDs are available at Amazon.com. 19 of his CDs are available online from Merlin.com the largest Polish online bookstore (page exclusively in Polish laguage)
Two candles, flowers, sadness, sorrow, tears and hope. "But source still throbs and throbs" - thank you for that hope in difficult times, Jacek.
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