Mazurka Wojciechowska was born to an artistic family in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents recognized her musical talent early and at age four she began studying piano. By the time she was ten she knew she wanted to specialize in Slavic folk music. She was one of the first girls to be accepted to Lane Technical High School’s music program, and there she studied theory, harmony, orchestration, counterpoint and music history.
Following graduation from Lane Tech, Mazurka traveled to Poland, first on tour with a dance group for which she was the accompanist, and then independently to do field research on folk music. It was during this trip that she learned many of the Polish folk songs in her repertoire today.
For over 10 years, she was a soloist and ensemble singer in The Lira Ensemble, a professional arts organization dedicated to Polish music, song and dance. She also co-founded the Slavic Projection Folk Ensemble, a trio specializing in Western and Southern Slavic songs and folk dances. She attended the American Conservatory of Music, graduating cum laude with a degree in vocal performance. She also taught herself to play the hammer dulcimer, which helped to increase Slavic Projection’s repertoire. A skilled arranger and orchestrator, Mazurka has contributed many arrangements to both Lira and Slavic Projection over the course of 20+ years.
In 1998, Mazurka decided to learn to play accordion to increase her own repertoire and also to allow her to do more solo performing. She has been playing accordion professionally since 1999 and her repertoire covers over 15 European nations. In 2004 she was invited to play regularly at Klas Restaurant in Cicero, the largest Czech restaurant in the nation. She has released four solo accordion/vocal recordings: From a Land of Old Souls: Songs of the Czech and Slovak Republics (currently sold out); Bade, pălărie nouă (Mister New Hat): Songs of Romania; Czyja to dziewczyna? (Whose Girl is This?): Popular Polish Folk Songs and Dances; and For Adults Only, a collection of songs and dances popular in the 1940’s and ’50’s. She is also prominently featured on the Slavic Projection CD Through Mountains and Valleys as a singer, dulcimer player and even a (very bad) fiddler!
Mazurka has plenty of teaching experience as well. For seven years, she taught singing in the dance schools of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America. From 1994 to the end of the program in 2009, she was a member of the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Global Roots program, bringing her knowledge of Slavic music and culture into Chicago’s inner city public schools. Many of her programs have an educational aspect to them, and she is constantly looking for ways to interest others in Slavic music and culture.
Since the beginning of 2011, Mazurka has been a cast member of the Kiss Kiss Cabaret, Chicago’s finest weekly burlesque cabaret. She plays Velma Claptrap, the brashest and most vulgar member of the house band, the Claptrap Family Orchestra. Their website is www.kisskisscabaret.com.
In 2012, Mazurka joined the Euro Express German-American band. Visit their web page at www.euroexpressband.com. Euro Express plays mainly for German events in the Chicago area, such as Oktoberfests, and has toured in Ohio and Florida.
Besides playing at Klas in the Cabaret and with Euro Express, Mazurka plays for events: parties, anniversaries, religious services, and festivals, and also gives concerts and lecture/demonstrations of Slavic folk music. She has been interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Reader, as well as having been written up in various neighborhood publications.
See her perform on line at www.youtube.com/cimbalok and check out her Facebook page, facebook.com/eurofolktunes.