Coming back from long journeys, of different type,
often not merely geographical, three guys met, somewhere
on the outskirts of a big city, picked up their funny
and awkward instruments and began to play. It was everything
but an incident...They were sipping yerba mate to stay
awake and play more. It worked...Yerba was truly the
Mater of invention.
From the very beginning there was this notion that the
outcome of the event was quite unlike anything they
had previously heard.
Soon they had their first chance to record their music
in an empty concert hall of the Warsaw Music Academy.
That was spooky. All those empty chairs and the four
of them Bart (cello), Cierlik (al-`ud), Raf (saz, baglama)
and Seba( sopilka, bass recorder).
As you can see from the photos there is one thing
missing in our hitherto quartet...drums. Well, we've
always thought that it would cool to have tabla, a symbol
of perfection in the world of percussion. Then again
for some pieces a gentle bendir seamed more suitable.
For the first rehearsal Hubert came with both. My beloved
wife Ania added some polish-roots power on suka biłgorajska
( or rather kocucka, as those-who-know-best suggest).
Later we found out that there is nothing like a didgeridoo
to accompany the throat overtone chant, hence Luka teamed
up. We kept on drinking lots of yerba mate.
In 2002 Yerba Mater began to perform life in Poland
playing at different kinds of folk festivals, refugees
days, theatres, museums etc. They play almost only their
own compositions, improvisation and maybe two folk tunes
to ease the tension. The thing they played was always
very different from everything else that was played.
Some people were a bit suspicious as it might have sounded
a bit Moorish, and that wasn't exactly the best time
for anything with the sign of the Crescent on.
We had a good laugh at such notions, and we even called
one of our tunes Jihad, and another one Black Afghan,
we don't play them to often nowadays but you may listen
to one of them live in the music section of the site.
It is a fine example of the early period o Y.M.
The truth is that we seldom really fit the occasion.
Once on a folk festival somewhere by eastern boarder,
we played almost at the end of the party. Drunken Byelorussians
simply couldn't stand our broken rhythms and heathenish
sound. They were shouting at us to play "Byeliye
Rozy" a famous Russian pop song, on which Cierlik
performed a 3 minute wild solo alap (intro) on `ud.
That must have hurt ( them). But otherwise it was a
In October Y. M. gave over seventy concerts together
with lectures on Indian classical music in primary and
secondary schools. Directly on their way back from the
last one they recorded a sort of they first album -
Meditation. The title defines the music. It was supposed
to be added to aspirin or some magazine for housewives,
fortunately the poor women were speared falling into
a trans upon a frying saucepan. The CD is barely available
although quite interesting and not merely for the colorful
cover by Luka.
One of the best things that happened in this year was
the Silent Movies Festival. We were chosen to perform
music for one of the first animations, filmed by a French
artist Emil Cohl in 1910-1916. Some precious copy of
the long lost films had beeen found in the Archives
of Polish Cinematography. That was a wonderful work,
the "cartoons" were really psychedelic, and
we loved playing music while watching the huge screen.
O6.04.03 - Y.M won the 1st Prize on the biggest folk
festival in Poland "Nowa Tradycja" organized
by Polish Radio. Some members begin to learn their craft
from the heroes of Polish ethnic music scene Maria and
Jerzy Pomianowski. Y.M also has a chance to meet and
organize a workshop with world famous Huun-Huurtu. Later
that year they recorded music for a movie "Stara
Ba¶ń" based on the an legend old about evil King
Popiel who for his cruelty and greed was eaten by mice.
We wanted to confront our music with the trendiest
cast of people - the clubbers. We started playing chill-outs
for bhangra parties - Masala Soundsystem. It came as
a relief when we found out that you actually can dance
to our music. In 2004 they recorded a CD with us, together
with all kinds of DJ, scratchers and rappers. On the
other side we played on the International Early Music
Festival in Jarosław.
In 2004 Yerba Mater attend more workshops on overtone
singing from Sergey Charkov and his lovely daughter.
In the summer they perform in Ukraine on Sheshory Festival
in the Carpathians and later in Lviv.
In August a new album "Raga Praga" was released.
If you are interested in purchase check the news page.