Mirosław Olszówka

Inne Brzmienia was created by Mirek Olszówka – a culture animator and creator, actor-mime, director, manager, records and cultural events producer. He was the initiator and director of Inne Brzmienia Art’n’Music Festival in the years  2008-2010. He made this event famous.


In Lublin, he used to live on the last floor of a tenement house on Rybna Street. That is the Old Town, Lublin’s axis mundi. He used to have a great view from his windows, straight onto the city and right outside it. In Janowiec, by Vistula river, he found a magical place for his restaurant: a plateau overlooking the picturesque panorama of the Polish biggest river with Kazimierz Dolny in its background. It was not a coincidence that he wanted and could find such places, together with their perspectives, enjoy these and bring their potential alive. At the same time he was very lucky with people that he shared long-term friendships with, and he also had a great sense of time, its challenges an d offers. Not until we are to memoriseand recapitulate Mirek Olszówka output which was stopped by his sudden death, we can see how, on variety of reasons, pioneering his projects and actions were, how exceptionally effective he was when matching his creative and managing talents.


He started with the theatre; in 1979, as an amateur, he became a disciple in Jerzy Leszcyński Theatre of Vision and Movement studio, experimenting formation established by a follower of Henryk Tomaszewski that synthesisespantomime and dance with some visuals and music in its performances. That time was favourablefor off theatres – Lublin became their main area in the country, it was the birth place for both the theatre seeking new aesthetics and the theatre being socially involved which is called alternative and remonstrates the reality of PRL. After five years Olszówka awarded a ministry diploma for mime actor. In 1988 he parted with Leszczyński theatre and established his own theatre Sce na Ruchu with Małgorzata Mazurkiewicz. Together they prepared performances like ‘Kalejdoskop’, ‘Popioły’, ‘Bolero’.


Workingon ‘Popioły’ (1991) was crucial for Olszówka. For that was the time he invited Voo Voo, Wojciech Waglewski’s group, to cooperate and prepare music for the performance – and he attached himself with the musicians by becoming band’s manager in three years time. That was the direction of Olszówka interests, gradually from theatre he moved towards music, from creation towards music and stage business, towards the role of a manager, artistic projects creator who was loyal to his geographical roots.

As stressed by Voo Voo, the group that has been on the market since 1985 and that is a veteran of indigenous mixture of rock, folk and world music, Olszówka was ‘the initiator and producer of all spectacular concerts and events signed by Voo Voo’. Meanwhile, ‘Popioły’, inspired by Edvard Munch paintings, were recorded by Programme2 for TVP in 1994, and Voo Voo music was recorded on the album ‘Mimozaika’.


He found premises for Scena Ruchu in Lublin in block of flats on Piłsudskiego Street where – considering the times that was exceptional – in 1991 he opened Lublin’s first grand music club ‘Graffiti’. It had its own well equipped stage and stage design by Jarosław Koziara whom he started constant cooperation with (Koziara was to become the stage designer of Voo Voo’s concerts and album covers). ‘Graffiti’ quickly obtained the reputation of predominant, most interesting and highly popular place in the city.

The first original enterprise by Olszówka, Voo Voo and Jarek Koziara was memorable concert ‘Voo Voo and Friends’ in quarry in Kazimierz Dolny on 15-16 July 1995; it was approved to be the artistic event of a year. Orkiestra św. Mikołaja, Homo Twist, Świetliki, John Porter, Kwartet Jorgi and, of course,  Voo Voo with Mamadou Diouf performed for an audience comprising of 10 thousand people. In 1997 Olszówka created ‘The fleet of united forces – the best singers performing Voo Voo’ including participation of Kayah, Katarzyna Nosowska, Justyna Steczkowska, Stanisław Soyka, Grzegorz Turnau, Kazik Staszewski, Lech Janerka, Maciej Maleńczuk.


Another pioneer Project, produced by Olszówka, was Voo Voo’s musical performance with the participation of distinguished actor Jan Peszek and his daughter Maria Peszek, an actress and vocalist, ‘Music with words’ which was first presented on stage of Osterwa Theatre in Lublin in 2002. This subtle performance directed by Piotr Cieplak related to a world that is just next to us though we usually do not understand it… The lyrics – which Waglewski called kokoryns – were written by disabled children suffering from cerebral palsy, who participated in activities of Cracowremedial centre and found writing as a conversation with the world around them.

In 2004 Mirosław Olszówka established producing company Kiton Art. He joined Voo Voo accurately and effectively, both in music and marketing, amongst others with Urszula Dudziak, Trebunie Tutki, and Ukrainian Haydamaky. His marketing and life success was the publishing of an album by Kiton Art, in cooperation with the biggest Polish media holding Agora SA that is the publisher of Gazeta Wyborcza and the producer of special editions. There were following albums released: ‘Trebunie – Tutki & Voo Voo’ (2007), ‘Waglewski i Maleńczuk. Koledzy. (2007), ‘Waglewski, Fisz, Emade. Męska muzyka’ (2008), ‘Voo Voo i Haydamaky’ (2009), ‘Harmonia’ (2010).


When in 2008 he invented music and art festival Different Sounds in Lublin it was like settling in a very familiar space as he had been living in the Old Town even before it became such a popular place. The idea to locate the stage keeping Trynitarska Tower, the building that is constant in panorama of the city, in the background was genius in its evidence. Despite so many other events occurring in the Main Square of the Old Town, no one used the location idea is such an inspiring and perfect way. ‘Different Sounds’ were also a precedent idea based on partnership and cooperation of private company and Lublin City Council.

This is the festival located in the city space, however considering the size of Lublin’s Main Square it is very close-circle. It offers the music which is far from common tendencies and commerce, which is artistically ambitious and prone to experiments, seeking and synthesising variety of musical world. During the first edition of the festival performed: Morcheeba (Great Britain), Club des Belugas (Germany), Trebunie Tutki & Twinkle Brothers (Poland/Jamaica), Voo Voo & Haydamaky (Poland/Ukraine), Kroke, Kairos, MP3, Motion Trio, Osjan, Martyna Jakubowicz, Waglewski Fisz Emade, Waglewski & Maleńczuk, Marcin Masecki Trio. The music was – and still is – accompanied by music work shops, exhibitions and discussions that referred to the place and role of Lublin being on the border of former and present influences of West and East. Festival’s events always use the space around the Main Square, like aged Dominican Monastery or Old Town’s cafes and pubs.

Olszówka’s ambition was to finaliseall new projects joining musicians, groups and musical cultures, rhythms and styles into albums. It was like that since the beginning, since the memorable concert during ‘Different Sounds’ first edition on 19th July 2008 when Voo Voo and Haydamaky played together; their joined album quickly received the status of Golden Record and Fryderyki 2009 nomination.

One of Lublin’s newspapers wrote then: ‘It is important that Lublin has finally seen concerts of world class performers, which was not possible so far. It is important that for these few days we could feel like citizens of a proper European city with its own decent musical festival, for till now we could only feel like musical backwater that should be left in order to listen to some good music.’

Art & Music Festival Different Sounds was awarded the title of Cultural Event of 2009 in Gazeta Wyborcza Lublin plebiscite.


Apart from Lublin Mirosław Olszówka had another beloved place, Janowiec by Vistula river; a small town that was promoted – mainly owing to Olszówka’s actions – as a competitive, quiet alter ego for Kazimierz Dolny. In 2002 he created and conducted ‘Janowiec association’.

First of all, he brought Janowiec castle to live (as well as Granary and Barn that belong to Nadwiślanskie Museum) that used to be only a picturesque ruin; he started to organize there some balls (discontinued… 200 years before), ‘Theatre Picnics’, ‘Castle Bonefire’, performances ‘Light and sound’, Cabaret Meetings’ and, of course, concerts. He even invented some local bread, yeast ‘Knight of Janowiec’, moreover he financed castle trumpet call. He found a beautiful meadow right at the foot of the castle hill where Jarosław Koziara curved the soil with the tractor for first Polish land art. Whereas, the meadow on the top of a slope near the castle, that holds a wonderful vi ew on Kazimierz Dolny, was used to establish his restaurant ‘Manes’ which had a great slogan: food with  view. Nadwiślański Janowiec paid Olszówka back giving him the honourablecitizenship…

He died after long and serious illness that many know nothing about. He was an optimist; it seems that he fulfilled his dreams. When I met him several days before his death, on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street in Lublin, he was devising a vision of the next ‘Different Sounds’… As always, smiling gently…

Grzegorz Józefczuk