I am deeply saddened to learn today of the imminent closure of one of my very favourite venues in Wroclaw; Piesniarze. As a foreigner in the city and one who strives to run World Music events here, I have consistently found this tiny, but deliciously unique and almost magical, venue to be incredibly open and accommodating to my small project; Outsider Promotions. Donat, the venue’s sole proprietor, Donat, has been particularly open to my attempts to promote a meaningful appreciation of cultural and ethnic diversity through the medium of music. This was particularly refreshing in a city where openness to such ventures to have been somewhat at a premium, and where often a certain clique-like mentality seems to prevail, creating an environment that makes it highly difficult to even get any worthwhile contact with actual decision-makers in other quarters.
My background is that through many years in my hometown, Galway, Ireland (European Capital of Culture 2020), I ran events to promote diversity and tolerance of new immigrant communities to the area from all over the world in a rapidly-changing Ireland. The project was then called Sean Agus Nua – meaning Old And New in the Irish language (check out the Sean Agus Nua Youtube channel to see the nature of what it was about). Since coming to Wroclaw five years ago I have been occasionally trying to build a similar project here, but have been time and again met with a closed-door mentality, which I found a little sad with Wroclaw being a recent European Capital of Culture itself. The main aim of my project here has been to create small intimate spaces where people can come to listen to quality ethnic music from abroad.
When I chanced upon Piesniarze last October, following recommendation from a friend, I found Donat alone in his venue doing some work. The place, the welcoming nature and the openness of Donat in particular to my venture was truly a breath of fresh air to me. Since that time, I have brought five diverse ethnic acts from Ireland, some of orign from further afield, invited local Polish and ethnic artists to play on the same bill, and have had some amazing gigs in Piesniarze. While I have also used other venues it would have been highly difficult to get this project somewhat off the ground had it not been for Donat and Piesniarze. All of the musicians who came have greatly praised the venue and the hospitality of Donat, and spread the word back home. All have expressed a wish to return to the venue, a wish that now seems sadly impossible.
Piesniarze has, in my opinion, provided a very necessary grassroots space in Wroclaw (here I have met so many local musicians, many visiting from various regions of the world, from all different backgrounds). Once this space closes, what is going to replace it?
From the bottom of my heart, Donat, I want to say Thank You for the space you have provided for musicians, poets and artists from Wroclaw and beyond, and I wish you all the very best in any future ventures you may undertake.
Very best wishes,