Performing and preserving Central and Eastern European folk music
Chicago accordionist Mazurka Wojciechowska has been researching, performing and preserving Slavic folk music since her teens. Mazurka has traveled to Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Romania to research folk music, record native artists, collaborate with other musicians and give concert tours.
One of her passions is introducing children to Slavic folk music. Mazurka has taught singing for the dance schools of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, and from 1994 until the end of the program in 2009, she was an outreach artist with the Old Town School of Folk Music's Global Roots program, bringing Slavic music to inner-city Chicago youth.
Mazurka earned her undergraduate degree in vocal performance from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, graduating cum laude. In addition to singing in over a dozen languages, Mazurka is proficient in accordion, which is her main instrument.
She has performed with several professional groups: The Lira Ensemble, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Slavic Projection Folk Ensemble and the Herz Family Cimbal Band. She performs solo, giving shows all over the greater Chicago area, and also as an ensemble member in Greenhouse Theater Company's Kiss Kiss Cabaret (see upcoming performances, below). She is also a member of the German Euro Express Band http://www.euroexpressband.com/.She performs for private parties, church events, senior group events, anniversaries, birthdays, Oktoberfests, etc.
Chicago Public Library, Beverly Branch
Oakland Park, FL Oktoberfest with the Euro Express Band
Chicago Public Library, Archer Heights Branch
Chicago Public Library, Jefferson Park Branch
GAF (German American Fest), Oregon, OH with the Euro Express Band
Eisenhower Public Library, Harwood Heights, IL. Folk Music Treasures of the Western Slavs; Lecture/Concert
Children's day camp: Camp Allegro, St. Luke's Church, Park Ridge, IL Performance of Central and Southeastern European folk music
Maifest Chicago with the Euro Express Band
DeKalb, IL Public Library
Swedish Cultural Society in America
Old Town School of Folk Music Artist in Residence at Galileo Math & Science Academy (CPS), Chicago, IL Continental Bridges, an 8-week program focusing on European countries and peoples that have seen immigration to Chicago.
Chopin Theatre, Chicago: Stranger Here Myself, a burlesque tribute to Kurt Weill
European Chalet, 55th and Archer, Chicago
Greenhouse Theater Company: Kiss Kiss Cabaret, Chicago's finest vaudeville/burlesque show
WBEZ Global Activism Expo 2011 Romanian folk music from Transylvania and Moldova.
Mary Queen of Heaven Church St. Joseph's Day Celebration
Polish American Accordion Association
Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival
Independent Order of Svithiod
Stickney-Forest View Public Libary
The Richie Gomulka Polka Show, 1490-AM Radio
Schaumburg Township District Library
Downtown Oak Park Winterfest
Greenhouse Theater Company: Peek-A-Boo! An Ooky-Spooky Halloween Burlesque
Mazurka’s repertoire consists of folk music from Bohemia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lusatia, Macedonia, Moravia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
Specialized ethnic 1-hour programs available (time can be adjusted according to need):
A Bird's Eye View of Poland
From a Land of Old Souls: Czech and Slovak Folk Songs
Folk Music Treasures of the Northwestern Slavs (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia)
From Oom-Pah to O-paa! Folk music of Europe from Germany to Bulgaria
School programs available! A 40-minute interactive show for children (grades 2 through 5) teaches simple phrases in Slavic languages, geography, basic music vocabulary and includes a sing-along. Teacher and student guides provided. Mazurka is on the roster of resident artists through the Old Town School of Folk Music's Youth Outreach program. Contact Melissa Mallinson: 773-751-3337.
Special programs for seniors! 1-hour shows of polkas, waltzes, standards and more from the '40's, '50's and '60's. General interest or tailored specifically for ethnic audiences. Offered at a special senior discount.
Czyja to dziewczyna? (Whose Girl is This?) Song texts provided in a separate booklet (mail only). Popular Polish folk songs, including Siwy koń, Zosia izbę zamiatała, Szła dzieweczka, and other favorites. Watch and listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYhuurMxmIE
From a Land of Old Souls: Songs of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Song texts provided in a separate booklet (mail only). This recording includes Pod tým našim okenečkom, Blue Skirt Waltz (Červená sukýnka), Julida, and others. SORRY, THIS CD IS SOLD OUT. IT WILL BE RE-RELEASED IF THE ECONOMY IMPROVES. In the meantime, you can watch and listen to The Blue Skirt Waltz on YouTube.
Bade, pălărie nouă (Mister New Hat) Texts available with CD (mail only). Songs of Romania. Mostly songs from Transylvania with a few from Banat and Moldova. Highlights include Ciobǎnaş cu trei sute de oi, Brâul de la Făget and Hora lui Dobrică. Watch and listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIbzaIvy9O0
Upcoming Performances 2013-14
Kiss Kiss Cabaret at Greenhouse Theater Company 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. 773.404.7336 Chicago's finest weekly vaudeville/burlesque cabaret! Starring impudent emcee Max Flattery, his evil brother Les Flattery, special guest artists, the Kiss Kiss Coquettes, the Amazing Tomas, juggler Brad French and the Claptrap Family Orchestra with Mazurka Wojciechowska as aging, foul-mouthed, fashion-challenged, thinks-she's-sexy-but-she's-not Velma Claptrap! Open run Friday nights 11 p.m. $20 admission, $15 in advance. 18 and over. See their page on Facebook for special promotions! http://www.kisskisscabaret.com.
Friday, December 6, 11 p.m. Kiss Kiss Cabaret
Saturday, December 7, 1 p.m. Downtown Oak Park Winterfest, at Scratch 'n' Sniff pet shop, 120 N. Marion St., Oak Park
Sunday, December 8, 5 - 8 p.m. Klas Restaurant, 5734 W. Cermak Rd., Cicero, IL 708.652.0795. Plenty of free parking!
Friday, December 13, 11 p.m. Kiss Kiss Cabaret
Saturday, December 14, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Klas Restaurant
Friday, December 20, 11 p.m. Kiss Kiss Cabaret
Saturday, December 21, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Klas Restaurant
Tuesday, December 31 New Year's Eve bash with the Euro Express Band, American Aid Society, 6540 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, 8 p.m. - 1 a.m. Call 773.712.0854 for details.
Thursday, April 24, 2014, 7 p.m., Eisenhower Public Library, Harwood Heights, IL. "From Oom-Pah to O-paa! A Musical Cruise Down the Danube" Free!
A YouTube posting with favorable comments from Romania: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuCVAQ0BkVoM-am suit în dealul Clujului (I Climbed the Cluj Hill) from Transylvania. See more links to other YouTube postings →
For Adults Only! Ethnic songs which became part of mainstream popular music in America during the '40's and '50's, including the Anniversary Waltz and Beer Barrel Polka.
One other recording released in 1998: Through Mountains and Valleys with Slavic Projection Folk Ensemble. Top-of-the-line CD recorded at WFMT Studios. Slavic Projection Folk Ensemble which burned up stages in Chicago and abroad from 1980 to 2004 was fronted by Elizabeth Steponavicius Halbe, Mazurka Wojciechowska and Peter Gronwold. Instrumentation on this CD includes violin, guitar, hammer dulcimer, tin whistle, bass and even banjo.
At performances CDs are sold at rock bottom prices. Texts available upon request, by e-mail in Microsoft Word format. (Cannot guarrantee correct diacriticals.) By USPS mail: $20 per CD includes song texts, postage/handling. If you buy four or more recordings, price per CD is $15. To order by mail, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.