Kaczmarski is the musical embodiment of Solidarnosc (Solidarity), the trade union movement that emerged in Poland in the 1980s. His
songs openly criticized the Soviet regime, and reflected Polish hopes for freedom from Soviet rule. His words fanned the flames of Polish
patriotism everywhere, and revived Polish resistance to oppression.
His most famous songs were protests about social and political conditions in Poland. Most notable was the song "Mury" (Walls) which was
influenced by "L'estaca" (written in 1968 by a Catalan musician, Lluís Llach during the dictatorship of General Franco.) The song was
quickly adopted by artists from many countries, as rallying cry for freedom in their own nations. It became the Anthem of the Solidarity
Movement in Poland. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and liberation of its satellite states, Kaczmarski's lyrics continue to hold
relevance among the Polish people.
In 1977 Kaczmarski made his musical debut at the Student Song Festival and was awarded his first prize for his composition "Obława"
(meaning Wolf hunt, or more accurately "Raid"). It was based on song written by Vladimir Vysotsky, a famous Russian songwriter and poet.
In 1980, Kaczmaski won second prize at the Opole Song Festival, for his song "Epitafium dla Włodzimierza Wysockiego" (Epitaph for
Vladimir Vysotsky). Vladimir Vysotsky died in July of that year.
Since the declaration of martial law in Poland from 1981 until 1990, Kaczmarski lived in exile, performing throughout western Europe, the
United States, Canada, Australia, and Israel. He also worked as editor and journalist for Radio Free Europe, and hosted his own radio show
called "Kwadrans Jacka Kaczmarskiego" (meaning,A Quarter with Jacek Kaczmarski).
When Soviet rule came to an end, he returned to Poland, touring the country with Zbigniew Łapiński. The next album, called Live, was a
compilation of those tours, and won him the Gold album for 2001. He continued to produce several albums such as "Mury" (Walls), "Nasza
klasa" (Our Class) and "Raj" (Paradise) among others. In 1989 he emigrated to Australia, disillusioned by developments in Poland after
Kaczmarski was reknowned as much for his distinctive musical style as for his politically charged anthems. His guitar playing has been
described as a dynamic, even aggressive form of classical genre. His intimate knowledge of Polish history and classic literature had
combined to produce songs that were exceptionally deep and embued a 'multi-layered' resonance. His composition of "Powtórka z Odysei,"
is reminiscent of Homer's Odyssey, while "Lalka" represented a powerful tribute to a Polish novel.
His music, and message appealed to audiences throughout Europe and America - from student campuses to large concert halls.
Kaczmarski died in Gdansk in 2004, after a two year battle against cancer of the larynx.
Jacek Kaczmarski Ballada Katyńska