Joachim Mencel Quintet – Artisena

Joachim Mencel – piano and hurdy gurdy
Weronika Plutecka – fiddle
Szymon Mika – guitar
Paweł Wszołek – double bas
Szymon Madej – drums

Artisena is a fusion of Polish folk music and modern jazz. It is based on traditional dances therefore the dancing quality shapes its very expression, however Artisena itself is not meant to be danced to. All of the compositions were written by Joachim Mencel. The individual style of Mencel as a composer merged with the spirit of Slavic dancing music concluded in something brand new. The result is both dynamic and deeply moving: our hearts start beating to the rhythm of our ancestors. We are touched by sentimental tone of our root music and at the same time we are impressed by its assimilation to modern jazz.

The composer invited musicians playing drums, double bass, violin and guitar. He himself sits at the piano and plays the crank lyre (hurdy-gurdy) – an instrument that has rich history in Polish folk music.

Artisena is dedicated to jazz lovers and all those who respect and admire ancestral music. Folk melodies are living creations, still undergoing evolution, hence they do not belong in a museum. Artisena creates another, new chapter of the history of traditional music.

The album "Artisena" of the band Joachim Mencel Quintet was released by For Tune in April 2018.

Music video with the tune “Polonez a-minor” from the album “Artisena”

Quotes from various reviews of the "Artisena" album:

"There are moments when the quintet achieves a rainy-day moodiness that is easy to get lost in."

Dave Sumner, Bird is the Worm

"Das Borduninstrument steuert im Zusammenspiel mit Gitarre, Geige Klavier Bass und Schlagzeug eine hochinteressante zusatzliche farbe zu einem klang bei, der stilistisch kaum zu fassen ist - mal experimentell (Mazurek d-moll), mal swingend ("Kolomyjka Bb-moll") dann ausserst melodieverliebt wie in Oberek G-dur, das phasenweise sogar erinnerungen an Oregon oder Pat Metheny weckt."

Guido Diesing, Jazzthetik Magazine

"whilst Mencel’s music has an authentic traditional sound, it is definitely modern jazz. One has to treat fusions with caution but this one (…) really does work."

Neil MacRae, Cosmic Jazz

"Joachim Mencel Quintet in the subtleties of jazz plays melodic, Slavic "songs" and "dances" making them romantic and melancholy standards, like the patterns of classical, illustrative jazz. This are not only folk polonaises… and mazurkas, but above all, scrupulously worked out compositions with unusually coherent arrangements and the pulse of jazz structure "

Dionizy Piątkowski, Era Jazzu