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Jacek Kaczmarski

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Singer, songwriter, poet, and author Jacek Kaczmarski was born in Poland in 1957. Best known for his politically charged protest songs, he was considered by many to be the voice of the anti-communist Solidarity movement in Poland during the '80s. A dynamic classical guitarist with an unusual style, Kaczmarski made his debut at the Student Song Festival in 1977 where he won first prize for his song "Oblawa." By 1981, he had released three albums and established himself as a popular performer, touring throughout Europe. He was in France at end of that year, when Poland's communist government declared martial law, and he lived in exile until 1990. During these years, Kaczmarski continued to tour, performing in Europe, North America, Australia, South Africa, and Israel, and recorded several more albums. He also worked as a journalist and editor at Radio Free Europe where he also hosted his own show for a time. At the end of communist rule in 1990, Kaczmarski returned to Poland and toured the country with his friend and fellow musician Zbigniew Łapiński. The concerts were recorded and released under the title Live later that year. The album eventually went gold and he continued to record prolifically throughout the rest of the decade. Even with communism gone, Kaczmarski soon grew dissatisfied with the political climate of '90s Poland and eventually emigrated to Australia. In 2002, he was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer and died in the spring of 2004 in Gdańsk, Poland. ~ Timothy Monger

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March 22, 1957 in Warsaw, Poland

Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s, '00s