The Saint Nicholas Orchestra is said to have “invented folk music in Poland”. The group came into existence in 1988 when traditional Polish music was despised and neglected. Then, through the songs of Lemko Ruthenians once living in eastern Polish Carpathians, we discovered that music from old villages can be fashionable and intriguing for a modern listener. Since then we have focused our activities on everything associated with folklore, especially whatever has been condemned to be forgotten, and yet can inspire and enrich contemporary culture.
The most distinguishing features of our music are: originality, complexity, dynamism, „white” vocal and acoustic sound. We do not imitate anyone but we always set ambitious musical goals for ourselves. On stage there are seven musicians and more than twice as many instruments (e.g. a few pairs of the violin, nyckelharpa, dulcimer, mandolin, mandola, doublebass, dutar, flutes, various drums and percussion instruments, guitars, koboz). We are meticulous about consonance. We enjoy playing with riffs and various shades of sounds, not avoiding references to rock and jazz. We are keen on trance and progressive arrangements which captivate and frequently astonish the listener.
Nevertheless, we do not aim to modernise the folk source, but rather to create its continuation on the basis of both the contemporary world and our knowledge and sensitivity to tradition developed by us while exploring the folk culture. It is our own tale of the world that has faded away but is still extremely significant for us.
Our goal is to harmonise all modern influences on our music with traditional ways of playing and singing into one communicative and vigorous whole. According to us the greatest value of folk music is its spirit which we want to discover together with our audience. This is why foreign listeners sometimes understand our music as a quite genuine continuation of living folk tradition – because we play acoustic and try to preserve the folk vitality and liveliness of the original in our arrangements and performance.