Czesław Niemen

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Bust of Czesław Niemens

Czesław Niemen ( [t͡ʂɛswaf ɲemɛn] ; born February 16, 1939 in Stare Wasiliszki near Nowogródek , Poland , today Belarus ; † January 17, 2004 in Warsaw ), bourgeois Czesław Juliusz Wydrzycki , was one of the most important and original Polish singer-songwriters of the 20th century Century. He was voted the most important national artist in a 1999 Polityka poll by 60 percent of the participants.


Niemen was born as Czesław Juliusz Wydrzycki . At the age of 20, he moved with his family from Belarus to Gdansk and began studying music there. He began his career as a rock singer in the early 1960s with songs in the style of the Beatles , including as a member of the band Niebiesko-Czarni . Similar to the Beatles, light love songs in the beat style and romantic ballads made for the first major successes, but in the course of the 1960s his style became more complex and the lyrics appealed primarily to the student youth. As early as the 1960s, he impressed Marlene Dietrich , who was on a concert tour in Poland, with one of his songs so much that she decided to include one of his songs in her repertoire. She wrote the German text for Czy mnie jeszcze pamiętasz herself . The song was called mother, have you forgiven me .

Niemen's first solo album was released in 1967 and contained the biggest protest song to date and the hymn of the Polish youth at the time, Dziwny jest ten świat (English version: Strange is the World ). This album also made for his breakthrough in the international rock business. In 1968 he signed a recording deal with CBS and went to Milan for two years.

The album Enigmatic , published in 1970, is considered to be Nien's main work , a work that he dedicated to the memory of the Polish freedom hero General Józef Bem . With the sixteen -minute piece Bema pamięci żałobny - rapsod , Niemen managed a surprising synthesis of traditional church music and avant-garde rock music. This album revealed a deeply religious artist rooted in the history of his Polish homeland. Enigmatic became a milestone in Polish music history and is still considered the "best Polish rock record of all time" ( Tylko Rock ).

In the early 1970s, Niemen developed his style of music further in the direction of psychedelic and electronic rock. His recordings with Helmut Nadolski and the musicians of the band SBB (to which Andrzej Przybielski occasionally joined) are particularly noteworthy from this period. He set classical Polish poetry by Norwid and Juliusz Słowacki to music . In 1974 he recorded an album in the USA with musicians from the US fusion scene, such as Rick Laird and Jan Hammer , Steve Khan and John Abercrombie .

Niemen gave concerts in France, Italy, both parts of Germany, India and England; 1972 for the Summer Olympics in Munich, 1973 in Dresden, here together with LGT , Collegium Musicum and SOK , 1976 for the DT-64 concert in East Berlin and in 1984 again in East Berlin at the Festival of Political Song . However, a film report that Konrad Weiß shot at DEFA about this appearance was banned by the SED . His songs have also been played by international radio stations.

In the 1980s and 1990s he composed numerous film scores, including for Andrzej Wajda's film Wesele (The Wedding) . He continued to perform in concerts and was considered a living legend of Polish rock music. In the last years of his life he occupied himself with painting and graphics in addition to composition.

Czesław Niemen's grave in the Warsaw Old Cemetery .

Czesław Niemen died of cancer .


In 1975 he married Małgorzata Krzewińska, model and actress, with whom he had daughters Natalia (* 1976) and Eleonora (* 1977). Both daughters are active as singers.


Czesław Niemen Monument in Opole

In June 2009 the National Bank of Poland issued three commemorative coins in Nobody's honor: two coins with a face value of 10  złoty in sterling silver and one coin with a face value of 2 złoty in Nordic gold .


No song Sen o Warszawie (Dream of Warsaw) is considered the unofficial anthem of the Polish capital in general and of the Legia Warsaw football club in particular. The song is sung by its followers before each game.


Studio albums

  • 1967: Dziwny jest ten świat (This world is strange)
  • 1968: Sukces (success)
  • 1969: Czy mnie jeszcze pamiętasz? (Do you remember me?)
  • 1970: Enigmatic
  • 1971: Niemen , also Czerwony Album (Red Album)
  • 1971: Kurylewicz , Warska , Niemen: Muzyka Teatralna i Telewizyjna (with Andrzej Przybielski, Jacek Bednarek , Władysław Jagiełło )
  • 1972: Strange Is This World (released in West Germany)
  • 1973: Ode to Venus (published in West Germany)
  • 1973: Marionetki (puppets), also Niemen Vol. I and Niemen Vol. II.
  • 1973: Russian songs (published in West Germany)
  • 1974: Mourner's Rhapsody (published in USA, UK, West Germany, with Michal Urbaniak , Jan Hammer, Don Grolnick , John Abercrombie, Rick Laird, David Earle Johnson - CBS)
  • 1975: Niemen Aerolit
  • 1976: catharsis (mainly electronic music)
  • 1978: Idée Fixe
  • 1978: Best of Niemen
  • 1980: Postscriptum
  • 1982: Przeprowadzka (The move)
  • 1989: Terra deflorata
  • 1993: Mourner's Rhapsody (new edition, with another title)
  • 2001: Spod chmury kapelusza (A hat made of clouds)
  • 2012: Pamiętam ten dzień (PL: platinumplatinum)

Concert albums

  • 2007: 41 Potencjometrów Pana Jana
  • 2007: Srebrne dzwony
  • 2009: Kattorna JJ72 / Pamflet na ludzkość JJ75 (2 CDs with concerts from the Jazz Jamboree 1972 and 1975)
  • 2011: Terra deflorata (live concert in Szczecin, November 23, 1984; incl.Bonus CD: Live in Berlin 1986)


  • 1978: Złote przeboje (MC)
  • 1979: The Best of Niemen (LP)
  • 1991: Gwiazdy mocnego uderzenia: Czesław Niemen (LP)
  • 1995: Sen o Warszawie (CD)
  • 2000: Czas jak rzeka , Złota kolekcja (EMI Music Poland, PL:platinumplatinum)
  • 2002: Od początku I (6 CD)
  • 2003: Od początku II (6 CD)
  • 2008: Spiżowy krzyk
  • 2009: Nasz Niemen (2 CD, PL:platinumplatinum)

Mini albums

  • 1964: Locomotion
  • 1964: Les Noir et Bleu - Les Idoles de Pologne
  • 1964: Czas jak rzeka
  • 1964: Hippy, Hippy Shake
  • 1964: Jeszcze Sr.
  • 1966: A Varsovie
  • 1966: Sen o Warszawie
  • 1967: Dziwny jest ten świat
  • 1978: Sen srebrny Salomei
  • 1997: Cegiełka na rzecz ofiar powodzi - Moja i twoja nadzieja (featuring)


  • 1962: Adieu sadness , El soldado de levita
  • 1963: Na swojską nutę
  • 1963: W rytmie Madisona
  • 1968: Obok nas , Baw się w ciuciubabkę
  • 1969: Io senza lei , Arcobaleno
  • 1969: Una luce mai accesa , 24 ore spese bene con amore
  • 1969: Re di cuori
  • 1970: Oggi forse no , Domani
  • 1972: Romanca Cherubina , Mazurek
  • 1972: Strange is This World , We've Got The Sun
  • 1975: Mleczna droga , Dorożką na Księżyc
  • 1979: Nim przyjdzie wiosna , Pokój
  • 1982: Witaj przygodo Zielona , Przeprowadzka
  • 1986: High Horse , Pod Papugami
  • 2002: Jagody Szaleju

Audio documents

  • 1964: Domek bez adresu
  • 1970: Never like czy to warto
  • 1974: Jodełki, sosenki
  • 1975: Włóczęga
  • 1979: Nim przyjdzie wiosna

Albums dedicated to Czesław Niemen

  • 2007: Niemen a cappella by PRO FORMA
  • 2009: Niemen Improwizacje by Artur Dutkiewicz
  • 2009: Dziwny ten świat - opowieść Niemenem by Janusz Radek
  • 2012: W hołdzie mistrzowi by Stanisław Soyka

Film music


  • HP Hofmann: Beat Lexicon. Performers, authors, technical terms . VEB Lied der Zeit Musikverlag, Berlin (East) 1977.

Web links

Commons : Czesław Niemen  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. TVP-Info / News: No, do you still remember me? from January 18, 2009
  3. Awards for music sales: PL