British-Polish musician Katy Carr will be appearing today at Canisius College's Montante Cultural Center in support of her new album "Paszport."
Carr’s fourth album is a mixture of jazz influenced pop with traditionally tinged anthems that are soulfully constructed and seamlessly sung in Polish and English. All these threads are sewn together with Carr’s strong suit of alternative folk music that miraculously creates an album straight out of 1940s Poland. The truly stunning aspect of "Paszport" is the interweaving of sonically beautiful arrangements with the horrors of the Second World War that make up the lyrics of many of the songs.
The first musical track, "Kommander's Car” is based on the 1942 escape of Kazimierz Piechowski, who with three other prisoners drove out of the front gate of Auschwitz I in a stolen SS officer’s car. Even more harrowing is track 7, “Mala Little Flower” which was inspired by resistance fighter Irena Gut-Opdyke’s fiance who was killed in action the day before their wedding. During the war, Gut also hid 12 Jews in the basement of a Nazi's villa where she was a slave laborer.
The daughter of a Scottish-English father and a Polish mother, Carr has been active on the British alternative and folk scene since her 2001 release "Screwing Lies." Her early albums including 2003s "Passion Play," have been favorably compared to the works of Icelandic singer Bjork and English musician PJ Harvey.
It was with the release of her third album "Coquette" and now "Paszport" that Carr has begun to carve out her place in popular music by utilizing her passion for both the 1940s aesthetic and her Polish heritage. By exploring this niche, Carr has found herself in the forefront style and era-crossing musicians like cabaret enthusiast Amanda Palmer and Russian darling Regina Spektor.
She accompanies her singing on piano and ukelele, while dressed in styles of the '30s and '40s. Her shows include historic video backdrops. Before becoming a full-time singer, Carr was a trainee in the Royal Air Force, with dreams of becoming a fighter pilot, before a scholarship led her to music school.
Carr will be performing today at 2 p.m. at the Montante Cultural Center (Main and Eastwood Streets on the Canisius College campus). Admission is $5 for students and $10 for everyone else.
This performance has been organized by The Polish Legacy Project-WWII and The Permanent Chair of Polish Culture at Canisius College.