Jestem Z Huty means I am from Huta in Polish.
Nowa Huta was built by the Soviets on the outskirts of Krakow starting in 1949. Its architecture, in the Socialist Realist style following Le Corbusier’s rules, was built to house the workers who flocked to work in the new steel mill (the Nowa Huta).
One of Huta’s most successful exports was Big Beat, a style of music which became popular in the late 1950s and is still played today, with some of the original bands’ members still playing regular gigs. But Big Beat existed only in the minds of communist administrators.
A communiqué had been sent round- Rock and Roll was banned by order from above. But the youth of Huta liked the music and wanted to listen to it. So they decided to rename it, and Big Beat was born. The authorities were happy that it wasn’t Rock and Roll, and the kids were happy they could listen to what they liked, albeit with a distinctly Huta twist.
I am working to document the places and people who conspired to make Big Beat the cultural phenomenon it became, and the musicians of today, sons and daughters of the town and the workers, who still produce music with a different flavour and see themselves as ongoing torchbearers in a great tradition of musical dissent.
This is a project which is still in progress and will be finished in 2014.