Afro-Polka is truly the soundtrack to one man’s voyages, and it is a pleasure to be allowed to be a travel companion on this musical journey. It would have been easy for Maciek to stay in Poland and be a successful musician. Well versed in European traditions he could have remained in his comfort zone, but instead he chose to take many roads rarely traveled. From Cracow, to the bustling streets of Johannesburg and Cape Town, and then onto the larger than life scene in New York City, Maciek has traveled, listened, learned and amalgamated a huge amount of styles, traditions and art forms into a strong, singular and original musical voice.
Often when I hear music that is referred to as "world music" it is either music that is stuck in the tradition where it comes from, or it is music that appropriates the culture of another (generally poorly) into a fusion of elements, losing the heart of the music that it is taken from. This is far from the case with Afro-Polka. It is clear from beat one of Crack Off that Maciek has done the homework of immersing himself in a variety of musical cultures, learning the real language of each but never allowing their history or the dictates of the times to define his own musical voice. In other words, he could easily fit into the prevailing styles of his musical interests and operate completely convincingly in them, but as a composer he chooses to take all the beautiful cultures’ rhythms and melodies that he has lived and experienced and make a very personal musical vision.
This vision or voice is brought to fruition by the stellar musicians assembled to make this recording. With a top flight cast of artists, Maciek lays down an amazing array of grooves and melodies and musical worlds that remind me at times of Hermeto Pascoal, Joe Zawinul, and even of Frank Zappa. He has a strong command of a wide range of colors and ideas and he makes them his own, not being held back by convention or by the business of making music. He takes the listener on a very personal journey that could only be an expression of his own travels and discoveries. After listening to this recording one has a pretty good idea of how, where and when Maciek has lived, loved, traveled and played throughout his life, with dedication, reverence, love and an open mind.
– Sean Conly, 2018
Crack Off from Afro-Polka album was featured on WBAI AfroBeat Radio hosted by Wuyi Jacobs, July 14th, 2018
WANDERERS (I WANDER)
from the album Afro-Polka
WRITTEN BY PHILLIPPA YAA DE VILLIERS
FRENCH TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION BY KAÏSSA DOUMBÈ
I never wanted to be fenced in
Something about the call of the horizon
First time I saw you was in silhouette
With galaxies behind you, I could navigate
Now we meet on a similar street
Our lives intersecting twenty years in between and
Baby you look just the same as you did before
With eyes like blue storms over mountains...
We were wanderers
searching the world for a home
only at home in a world of two
And you can't cage a wandering song
inside that dream
I was dying
last time I saw you was on Route 64
getting smaller as I drove away
It’s been such a long time since we sang
that wandering song
I've still got that dream if you want
you can come along
and we still have that feeling
that brought us together that long ago time
How does it go again, that half-forgotten song
Can you remember how it goes again?
(...) She [Kaïssa] opened her set with To Ndjé (...), before being joined on stage [Satellit Cafe-Paris] by the twirling Franky [Moulet] on bass, the discrete and efficient Francis Legrand on guitar and, the most Cameroonian of Polish musicians, the grooving drummer Maciek Schejbal. His playing of rhythms such as the bikutsi is as spectacular as it is effective, making him a serious candidate for a place in the pantheon of Cameroon's greatest drummers. (...)
Tribune 2 l'Artiste