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Blues in Białystok
Created by:Dariusz Korolczuk 20.01.2010, 11:02

The history of blues in our town has been inextricably connected to the legend of Rysiek “Skiba” Skibiński and the band “Kasa Chorych”, which in opinion of many fans, initiated the blues era in Białystok.


The story of Kasa Chorych dates back to 1975 when Ryszard Skibiński, a harmonica player founded a group together with a guitarist Jarosław Tioskow and a drummer Mirosław Kozioł. They soon were joined by Zbigniew Richter. Kasa was gigging extensively both in Białystok clubs and at major blues events in Poland including the Folk-Blues Meeting, Rockin' Jamboree, Rock-Arena, Pop-Session or Rockowisko. Owing to their great performances and professionalism they soon gained a very wide appeal and lots of ardent fans. The concerts bore resemblance to some energetic spectacles starring the charismatic figure of Skiba. The debut album containing “Blues Chorego” and “Szalona Baśka” was released in 1980. The recordings gained wide recognition and gave the band the 3rd place in the annual contest of the Baltimore WRJC – FM 91 radio station (they were surpassed only by the songs of Albert Collins, Muddy Waters and B.B. King).


The tragic death of Skiba came as a blow to the rest of the band and all the fans of Kasa Chorych. Ryszard Skibiński died on the 4th of June, 1983. No sooner than in 1984 was the first LP of Kasa Chorych released. It was titled: “Ryszard 'Skiba' Skibiński” and was a brilliant collection of the band's best achievements from the period between 1975 and 1983.


The personal involvement of Ryszard Skibiński was a driving force for the newly organised festival known as “Autumn with blues (Polish: Jesień z bluesem)”(1978). The Białystok festival is the oldest of this kind in Poland. In 2009 we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the event. Every year in autumn the enthusiast and lovers of 12 bars come to Białystok to listen to all their favourite genres including acoustic, electric, blues-rock, boogie, jump or swinging rhythm and blues. The festival has very often featured the world-renowned blues stars.


Since 1983 one of the most important blues events in the country is “Zaduszki Bluesowe (zaduszki referring to a Polish tradition of All Souls Day)”. Organised every year to commemorate Ryszard Skibiński, Zaduszki precedes the actual blues Autumn and constitutes a sui generis prelude to the biggest blues event.


Blues is well and widely heard in Białystok. You can listen to blues bands in the local pubs and clubs including Gwint, Ryczące Czterdziestki, Cabaret, Piwnica or Odeon. Białystok blues bands still occupy a prominent position on the Polish blues scene and pieces of Kasa Chorych, Devil Blues, Kamiński – McMahon duet or Bracia i Siostry appeared on two consequent editions of the anthology of Polish blues.


More information on Białystok blues: bialystokblues.com

Last Modification:Dariusz Korolczuk 27.10.2010, 10:37
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