Anna Maria Jopek and the brave sea dogs sailed in on a galleon to give a performance on a floating stage. The audience dressed in white robes sat in comfort on yellow, inflatable chairs on land or rocked on the waves in blue dinghies. We even had a special guest here in Dorotowo- Beto Betuk from Portugal.
A jazz artist? No, it’s too narrow a definition considering my broad interpretation of jazz. I need at least a few sentences. She is a vocalist, a musician, a composer, a lyricist and an arranger. She creates unfettered, spatial improvisations locked within forms- a paradox. Feminine, subtle, strong and dynamic, all in one song. Her voice is her instrument and she plays it with virtuoso skills. Vibrant and resounding it can fade into a seductive whisper, barely a breath. Her songs have a trans-like rhythm, energetic and very elegant. Her music suits refined interiors, gorgeous pictures and beautiful, nostalgic landscapes. Her music bewitches the listeners and arrests them in mid-stride. It creates its own universe we want to find ourselves in to savor it and to ponder it. Anna Maria avails herself of new music genres with grace and ease, adapts them to her needs with respect for their sources and traditions, leaving their essence intact. And this is what all musicians from different milieus love Ania the best for. For respect she shows to music in all its splendor and plethora- bossa nova, fado, Polish folklore, haiku and Chopin in all their glory and astonishing interpretations.
Wonderful friendship with Anna Maria is a story of long and brief meetings in the course of many years. Or just a short phone call. No matter which, each is an intense experience. There is nothing more precious for us than her own time and space, so we partake of it in tiny bits always feeling it is a sacrilege. For such artists as Ania, time is the most dear personal possession and filching it for ourselves is an undeserved luxury. Ania has this uncanny ability to make any person she speaks with to feel that in this particular moment (or maybe before and after) you are of utmost importance. When she makes coffee and serves doughnuts (she would run to get them as soon as you’ve told her you were coming) she exudes such closeness and joy that it lasts for a long time and is so abundant that it is enough to bestow it upon a thousand other people completely unaware where the source of this generosity of spirit lies. The longer meetings, at our place, when we indulge in long conversations about everything- music, art, children, people the world- these are like vast chapters of a book to which Ania is an introduction. The creative energy of these meetings is inexhaustible and renewable. Dreaming and making plans with Ania is an absolute joy. Everything and anything is possible and Ania is the best example of it. Her art is getting stronger with every new project. Her artistic paths are intricate and meandering, full of digressions, but Ania is never lost in this labyrinth. She navigates it with ease, explores all the nooks and crannies and keeps moving forward. I cannot say if her goals are clear or if she has any need to define them. Maybe the journey itself is a source of joy for her. One day, we simply must talk about it. For now, I know that she meets in this labyrinth wonderful people, spends some time with them, learns from them and brimming with gratitude runs ahead towards new encounters. Forever enchanted, fascinated, insatiable, oh how I do understand that! Full of admiration I would like to thank her for the music that strums my heart and touches my soul, the music I cannot envision the world without. Pure perfection! Anna Maria has never established any borders- she opens them.