Powerful traditional folk themes from Poland are remade by Lumpeks, a raucous collaboration between Frenchmen Louis Laurain, Pierre Borel, Sébastien Beliah and Polish singer, percussionist and folklorist Olga Kozieł, sounding as if the Ornette Coleman band hailed from Poland’s Lubin region.

Musicians from the quartet Lumpeks, standing next to each other between racks of clothes and looking into the camera.


© Hania Linkowska

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More on folk & improvised music in our Digital Guide “Outside Traditions”


(FR, PL)

Traditional folk music has always been mutable, often pushed forward by a mix of improvisation and the personality of its practitioners. The French-Polish quartet Lumpeks brings a fiery intensity to songs collected by its magnetic vocalist-percussionist Olga Kozieł, an important figure in Poland’s creative music and folk scene, particularly with respect to her work in the Lubin region where the bulk of the quartet’s repertoire comes from. The driving rhythms she thrashes out on traditional instruments like the barbarian, baraban and obręczowy collide with thick, frenetically bowed double bass lines of Sébastien Beliah to produce a manic energy. Lumpeks brings something new to the sound by overlaying the inextricably linked horns of trumpeter Louis Laurain and alto saxophonists Pierre Borel – who both play adventurous post-bop in the quartet Die Hochstapler. They have a stunning rapport, a kind of French update of the sonic blend pioneered by Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. On the group’s 2020 debut album the music makes common partners of free jazz and raw folk, injecting each side of the equation with irresistible vitality.


Louis Laurain cornet
Pierre Borel alto saxophone
Olga Kozieł vocals and percussions
Sébastien Beliah double bass