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Polish Rock Songs: Czesław Niemen - Sen o Warszawie (English lyrics)

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Uploaded on Feb 8, 2011

Czesław Niemen - Sen o Warszawie (Dream About Warsaw)

Czesław Niemen (February 16, 1939 -- January 17, 2004) real name Czesław Juliusz Wydrzycki, was one of the most important and original Polish singer-songwriters and rock balladeers of the last quarter-century, singing mainly in the Polish language.

Niemen was born in Stare Wasiliszki, Białystok Voivodeship, interwar Poland (now in Grodno Province, Belarus). After World War II it became a part of Byelorussian SSR and in the 1950s he was allowed to move to Poland. He made his debut in the early 1960s, singing Polish rock and soul music. He possessed an unusually wide voice range and equally rich intonation. He was also an ardent composer and a keyboard player. Soon after his first successful concerts in France, he started to use the pseudonym Niemen instead of his real name, gaining wider notoriety in Poland and making it easier to pronounce by foreigners (Niemen is a Polish pronunciation of the Neman River and this way he wanted to mark his birth country). His song of 1967, "Dziwny jest ten świat" (Strange Is This World) is commonly acknowledged to be the most important Polish protest song of that era (in 1972 an English version was also recorded). He was one of the first Polish performers to wear long hair and colourful clothes and introducing the style of psychedelia to communist Poland, which annoyed the officials. The first three LP album's Niemen recorded with his band "Akwarele" (Watercolours). Subsequently, he recorded with his other new bands: "Enigmatic", "Grupa Niemen" and "Aerolit". In 1969 he changed musical style to progressive rock while recording the monumental album Enigmatic. The most notable song from it was "Bema pamięci żałobny rapsod" (A Mournful Rhapsody in Memory of Józef Bem), based on the 19th century poem by Cyprian Kamil Norwid. The rest of Enigmatic songs were also in sung poetry form. Niemen played Hammond organ, later mellotron and Moog synthesizer on his records.

In the early 1970s, Niemen recorded three English language albums under the CBS label. In 1974 he recorded Mourner's Rhapsody with Jan Hammer and Rick Laird from Mahavishnu Orchestra. In the seventies, Niemen turned to jazz-rock fusion and electronic music (Katharsis album). In 1972 he also contributed with a song performed by him in "Wesele" (The Wedding (1972 film)) by director Andrzej Wajda, laureate of an honorary Oscar. Later, Niemen also composed film soundtracks and theater music. In the 1990s he showed interest in art painting and computer graphics. He died of cancer in Warsaw.

He won the Sopot International Song Festival in 1979.

In 1964 at Congress Hall, Warsaw, Niemen together with his group played as a support act to Marlene Dietrich in concert. She heard his song "Czy mnie jeszcze pamiętasz" ("Do you still remember me?") there. She enjoyed it so much and soon recorded her own version of it "Mutter, Hast du Mir Vergeben" ("Mother, have you forgiven me?") writing her own lyrics for the song.

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