Island Girl Debut Album Review

Masterful nuance and subtlety

“Coincidence means that her surname is wrongly associated with Poland’s Presidential Palace. Even so, she is eminently predisposed to higher things. Thanks to her uncommon talent, she has a chance of one day attaining the status of ‘Queen of sensitivity and style’. The first step in this direction is undoubtedly her debut album, Island Girl. Ola Kwasniewska spent three years in Belgium, where she studied in the jazz department at music school. In 2004, she linked up with several Belgian musicians, including Pedro De Bruyckere, who would become the producer of her first album. They joined forces to record Island Girl, which Aleksandra has released under her own label.

The songs were recorded in an analogue studio in the Belgian village of Zwalm. The glory of nature, the hot-headed passion of the musicians and the unique musicality of the leading light, Aleksandra Kwaśniewska herself, all shine out from the final product. Aleksandra and The Belgian Sweets meld together a range of styles in a way which is both masterful and highly sensitive. The music on the album is a combination of folk, jazz, bossa nova and a refined and sophisticated pop. The musicians, perfectly at one with their instruments, have created the arrangements with delicacy and skill. Amongst the sounds the album offers us are those of trumpet, saxophone, piano, double bass, accordion, guitar and keyboards, as well as a wide range of percussion instruments. The music is imbued with nuance and the singer herself has an exceptional gift for manipulating mood.

Kwasniewska sings in her own unique way and with her own unique subtlety – delicate, feminine, sometimes even ethereal and brimming with sensuality and innocence. But this is the innocence of a Lolita. Her voice is full of colours, warm and pastel.

Without a doubt, Aleksandra is one of the most talented young vocalists of the new generation, a generation which is often characterised by both individuality and candour. She fills a niche in the Polish market to perfection, offering a fusion of Polish folk and elements from the bohemian world.

Her career looks to be promising indeed and Island Girl is assuredly one of the best albums to be released by a Polish artist this year. There is every possibility that it is, in fact, the very best!”

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