Projekt „HIZBUT JÁMM” Raphael Rogiński, Mamadou Ba, Noums Balani Dembele, Paweł Szpura

The Hizbut Jámm project is devoted to trance cultures and practices of West Africa. It also refers to psychedelic influences in the music of the 70s from that region – to bands from Togo, Benin and Nigeria. The musicians involved in the project are also close to the musical traditions of that area. Mystical lyrics, which deal with man’s huge responsibility for its own fate and the fate of the world, correspond with steady rhythm, dynamism and diverse instrumental tones. All those elements help fully absorb the message of the music. The set of instruments combines tradition with modernity – on one hand there is a balafon, an ngoni and a frame drum, on the other hand – guitars and a percussion.

The members of Hizbut Jámm are Raphael Rogiński, Mamadou Ba, Noums Balani Dembele and Paweł Szpura. The Polish musicians are known from the experimental scene and play in various bands, e.g. Cukunft and Vovoka. They are also authors of numerous projects from the border of different genres. Mamadou Ba is an actor, a musician, a dramatist and a performer from Senegal. He is also a member of the artistic group LaFabriks. As a trio, they have performed together on several occasions. This time, they are joined by Noums Balani Dembele, a young and gifted harpist and balafonist from Burkina Faso.


A musical meeting between the Kroke trio and the outstanding Mongolian singer Urna Chahar-Tugchi. Urna has been friends with the artists from Kroke for many years, which led to the release of the album “Ser” (“Awakening”) in 2018, among other things.

Urna comes from a traditional shepherd family from the Ordos Plateau in Inner Mongolia. She developed her talent when studying the yangqin, convinced by one of her professors of the Shanghai Conservatory Of Music, who heard the young artist on vacations in Hohhot (the capital of Inner Mongolia). At the age of 18, Urna decided to move to Shanghai, however, she quit that instrument to work on her unique voice. She mentions that one of her teachers used to record her singing traditional songs. That convinced her to keep on working on her vocals.

Listening to Urna singing is nearly a theatrical experience which gives the feeling of being close to nature and takes the audience to the world of Mongolian fables, legends and philosophies. Some people even compare it to a religious ceremony. People of Ordos often call their region the “Sea of Songs”. In her compositions and lyrics, Urna conveys the spirit of Mongolia and the atmosphere of a nomadic life on a steppe, while loose improvisations set new directions for the music of her roots. Many of Urna’s melodies come from the repertoire of her beloved grandmother, to whom she promised to nurture the musical integrity.

Kroke have been on the international scene for over 25 years. Initially, they focused on klezmer music but now draw inspiration from ethnic music of different cultures. The trio have won many prestigious awards and distinctions (e.g. the German Record Critics' Award), performed at the biggest European festivals, and their albums reached the very top of the World Music Charts Europe. They have cooperated with such personalities as: Steven Spielberg, Peter Gabriel, Nigel Kennedy as well as Krzysztof Herdzin, Edytą Geppert, Anna Maria Jopek and Maja Sikorowska.