Żywiołak bio 2023

The origins of the band Żywiołak date back to 2005, when Robert Jaworski, who had previously played in Kapela ze wsi Warszawa and their troLe, and Robert Wasilewski, guitarist and co-founder of the Open Folk formation, met. The result of this meeting, which was later joined by vocalists Anna Piotrowska, Izabela Byra and drummer Maciej Łabudzki, was cemented in the minds of listeners by the band’s first EP, “Muzyka psychodelicznej świtezianki” (Music of the psychedelic dawn), and the album “Nowa ex-tradycja”. Musical innovation and bringing to light the notion of “folk demonology”, which had not yet been exploited artistically, quickly brought the formation into the salons of folk and alternative music.

Subsequent albums: “Nowa  mix-tradycja”, “Globanal wiocha”, “Muzyka psychoaktywnego stolema”, “Pieśni pół/nocy” and “Wendzki sznyt”, are musical collaborations within a number of successive artistic personalities, from which the current line-up of Zywiołak emerged.

Currently the band consists of Robert Jaworski, who invariably plays the hurdy-gurdy, renaissance fiddle and sings, Wiktoria Kwiatkowska, a vocalist, shawm player and flutist, and Kamil Strzyżewski, a bass guitarist lute, player and vocalist. These three have been  ultimately responsible for the artistic shape of the band since 2014. 

In December 2022 the  band  released another album entitled ‘Dekonstrukcja Historyczna I’, preceded by the song ‘Sol Invictus’, among others. As on previous albums, the band draws on pre-Christian symbols and little-known layers of Polish tradition. On the basis of old festive songs, still functioning in the folklore, the band undertakes the difficult task of attempting to reconstruct the old Slavic myths, existing only in vestigial form. 

It is impossible to forget the successes of the ensemble which have led it to its market position.

And these were, among others, the main prize in the rock competition “Młode Wilki”, the Grand Prix of the “Nowa Tradycja” festival, the Audience Award at the “Mikołajki Folkowe” festival, the use of the band’s music in the game “Wiedźmin II”, recordings within computer games: “The Witcher III” (Jaworski), “Word of Tanks” or “League of Legends”(Strzyżewski), a wild card in the Eurovision Song Contest and two “Fryderyk” nominations.  

Today Żywiołak is one of the most recognisable folk music bands in Poland. The group has performed dozens of shows in Poland and abroad and has earned the status of a “pioneer” of experimental folk.




Robert Jaworski - hurdy gurdy, renaissance fiddle, The Gdańsk gusli, flutes, jew harp, percussion,vocals 
Wiktoria Kwiatkowska - vocals 
Kamil Strzyżewski - semi acoustic bass guitar, romantic lute, vocal , bustling, dombra

The article by Mateusz Dobrowolski published in the UK’s magazine “Songlines”. It’s about Polish dark folk bands, including Żywiołak.

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RootsWorld about Żywiołak – check here.

Some history of the band

Żywiołak`s debut is considered to be their concert at the already defunct Warsaw club Jadłodajnia Filozoficzna on December 8, 2005.
The next day, the band played at the XV Międzynarodowy Festiwal Muzyki Ludowej Mikołajki Folkowe (XV International Folk Mikołajki Festival) in Lublin, where they were very warmly received, winning the Audience Prize.
Four months later, the band won the Polish Radio Grand Prix at the prestigious Nowa Tradycja (New Tradition) folk festival in Warsaw.

Their later successes included:

  • The Grand Prix at the Międzynarodowy Festiwal Gry na Instrumentach Dawnych i Byle Czym (International Festival of Ancient Instruments and Whatnot) in Starogard Gdański.
  • First Prize in the Młode Wilki Rebelia (Young Wolves Rebellion) rock bands contest organised by the bigest Warsaw club Stodoła.
  • Piotr Kaczkowski selected their track “Oko Dybuka” (Eye of the Dybbuk) for his Minimax 4 compilation CD.
  • Nominated for Polish Radio 3 Mateusz Święcicki Music Prize in 2007 for their innovative approach to folk.
  • The Virtual Gusli 2009 award for the CD “Nowa Ex-Tradycja” (New Ex-Tradition), which was also voted best folk CD of 2008 in an Internet poll.
  • The song “Moja Mała” (My Sweetheart) appeared on the Warsaw Uprising Museum`s CD Gajcy in 2009.
  • 17.05.2011 appeared just long-awaited sequel to the worldwide blockbuster RPG gaming market – The Witcher 2: “Assassins of Kings”. In the intro introduction to further adventures of the main character, you’ll hear a song “Oh you, Petre, Petre” from the album New Ex-tradition.
  • In 2012 the album “The global Village” was nominated for Polish Academy Awards a phonographic “Frederick 2012” in the category “Album of the year folk/music world”.
  • Performance in the program Kuba Wojewódzki 19 March 2012.
  • Instrumental music created by Robert Jaworski (group leader) was used to create the soundtrack of The Witcher 3: “Wild Hunt” (2015). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-jogZgwf3M&feature=youtu.be
  • The development by Żywiołak of the folk melody “In my little garden” commissioned by Wargaming was used as a soundtrack to create a Polish map of the Word of tanks game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DheLduIUOk0&amp=&feature=youtu.be
  • Our lute and bass player Kamil Strzyżewski recorded his lute and guitar for League of Legends video game soundtrack. You can listen to the song here.
  • The album “Wendzki sznyt” has been nominated to Fryderyk 2020 Polish music industry award.
  • An article about the band in “Songlines” magazine. Click here to view: Songlines 07.2022

The band has played numerous outdoor and club concerts all over Poland, promoted Polish culture in Moscow and Vienna, and toured in Germany, Norway, Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania and even Siberia.

“Muzyka Psychodelicznej Świtezianki” (Psychedelic Świtezianka Music). Karrot Kommando records, 2007.
“Nowa Ex-Tradycja” (New Ex-Tradition). Karrot Kommando records, 2008.
“Nowa Mix-Tradycja” (New Mix-Tradition) remix album. Karrot Kommando records, 2010.
“Globalna wiocha” (Globale village). Karrot Kommando, 2011.
“Muzyka psychoaktywnego Stolema” (Psychoactive Stolem Music) ,2016.
“Pieśni pół/nocy” (Mid/north songs), 2017.
“Wendzki sznyt” (Vandal-scared) , 2018.

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