'...masterful. Great riffs, touches of Slavic folk song and Latin American rhythms. Carefully orchestrated...strong images and surprising twists of language. Well worth hearing.' - R. Michael Daugherty, PhD, composer. It has been said about Olenka's CD Making Arrows that Peter Gabriel would like it. Having emigrated from the Carpathian Mountains of Poland via Italy in 1977 and growing up in New York, Olenka's influences follow a worldbeat, gypsy-caravan-route. Her sound and arrangements take full advantage of the contemporary studio setting and the virtuosity of guest musicians, while featuring world instruments like the Middle Eastern dumbek and innovative elements like flamenco heelwork. Catchy songwriting makes use of melodic riffs from the fringes of Europe, and although English is not Olenka's native language, her lyrics employ vivid imagery, sneak-attack alliteration and rhythmic, injammed rhymes. Making Arrows is an independent release that is a powerful testament to how the music industry is impoverishing American culture by screening out these kinds of original and intelligent voices. Olenka's passion for integrating world music with state-of-the-art production is long standing. In 1989 she collaborated with Peruvian buskers, or street musicians, in New York City on her song 'Cold Faith', which featured the 'zampoña' (panpipe) and kena flutes set against the innovative Chapman Stick guitar/bass. That same year 'Cold Faith' appeared on the compilation of New York bands entitled Fresh Kills and it now appears on Making Arrows. Her rhythms effortlessly integrate the Afro-Cuban clave and the Middle Eastern malfuf into a very mainstream sound. Olenka often displays her visual art and writing together with her music at her concerts, art shows and workshops where the studio-recorded CD can be heard on headphones. 'Although acoustic performances create an aesthetic atmosphere all their own,' she explains, 'the multi-textured arrangements and high energy of the recorded sound are sometimes as important to me as the lyrics. Studio production and recording really communicate a very big part of what I'm trying to express, and I feel that the artwork in conjunction with my live shows provides the audience with more of that bigger vision.' Olenka's original repertoire consists of over 70 songs. Memorable songwriting and sensual rhythms have always been an Olenka trademark, and her future plans include recording her material while exploring the intersection of sensual world rhythms with the hypnotic beats of a modern, club-oriented setting.
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