As the host of World Music on KSTX, I’m endlessly fascinated by songs in foreign languages and their performers. Though I frequently don’t understand the lyrics, liner notes are occasionally provided in English, or translations can be found on-line. “Paszport,” by Katy Carr, is an absolute dream of an album, and not only does Katy Carr, sing in both Polish and English, but there are excellent and comprehensive liner notes included.
Carr’s mother is Polish, and her father Anglo-Scots. The album was inspired by Kazik Piechowski, a Pole who was imprisoned in Auschwitz during WWII, only to later escape in the commandant’s car dressed as an SS officer. The opening track is a dialogue between Katy and Kazik. From then on, we encounter the many characters and situations that existed during the second World War, all specifically related to the Poles. This was a CD where I was constantly enthralled by the storytelling, believing with each song I had heard my favorite. All the songs were composed by Carr, except for two traditional Polish tunes, “The Partisan’s Lullaby” and “Oh My Rosemary.”
Helping to creating a very distinctive sound on the album are musicians Francesca Ter-Berg, a Klezmer cellist, gypsy violinist Flora Curzon, and Egyptian percussionist Guy Schalom. A couple of the tracks also include Polish soldiers from the 22nd Artillery Supply Company. This is indeed a magnificent and beautifully presented CD, I can’t wait to explore her other works.