“McCARTNEY’S DAY”, LEGIONOWO, POLAND, JANUARY 1998
In the last decade of the 20th century I was popularizing Paul McCartney's music in Poland mainly through press articles and radio/TV interviews. My mission only partly turned out to be successful. Poland is the cultural ghetto where a certain minority has priority. For many years McCartney's music has been discriminated by the Polish radio, TV and press journalists. Nevertheless my action influenced a small group of sensitive, musically gifted people in Poland - fans, journalists and my friends. Somehow I can feel a winner. When I learnt that Linda McCartney was seriously ill I decided to do something unique, something which in Poland had never been done before. The most popular Polish pop/rock musicians and singers never organized a concert of Paul McCartney's songs. I understood it was the right time for me to do it. From 1997 to 2000 I was the Member of the Board of the Friends of Legionowo Society. Legionowo is my native town, located 25 kilometres from Warsaw. The Friends of Legionowo Society was established by my grandfather the late Piotr Chrusciel (1904-1990) in May 1979 in order to popularize past and present achievements of this local community. This organization has a wise motto: "Think globally, act locally" which sort of inspired me. To me it was a fantastic idea - to connect global thinking about Paul McCartney with local act for the benefit of my native town. In this way "McCartney's Day" was born. It was to be the first ever concert of Paul's songs performed solely by the Polish musicians. in contrast with the Polish premiere of Liverpool Oratorio (St. Catherine's Church, Cracow, June 1993) which was an international action rather with Carl Davis conducting the Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio in Cracow. "McCartney's Day" was held at the Town Centre of Culture in Legionowo on the 17th of January 1998. Both professionals and amateurs appeared on the same stage. They were united by one element - all of them lived in Legionowo. Of all the artists who accepted my invitation one certainly didn't require additional publicity. A famous bass guitarist Krzysztof Scieranski would remain a legend of Polish jazz music even if he hadn't participated in "McCartney's Day". But he agreed to be there with us. A few days before the concert Krzysztof invited me to his house in Legionowo where I witnessed a kind of rehearsal. We were listening to the album "Flaming Pie" when suddenly the Master joined Paul McCartney on the second acoustic guitar in "Little Willow". I had no choice - I started singing. I wish someone had recorded that original combination of two acoustic guitars and two lead vocalists. I wanted Krzysztof to play an instrumental theme "Hey Hey" composed by Paul McCartney and Stanley Clarke. Unfortunately I had it only on the vinyl record "Pipes of Peace" and the Polish musician didn't have...a record player. Finally during "McCartney's Day" Krzysztof Scieranski played his own composition "Botswana" and a handful of McCartney standards - "Yesterday", "For No-One", "Here There and Everywhere" and "When I'm Sixty-Four". In all four Beatles songs Scieranski was musically supported by a young talented bass player Adam Lusawa whom the Master was teaching to play this instrument. At the Town Centre of Culture the most popular rock band from Legionowo - Sexbomba performed "Please Please Me". Later they learnt from my article about the concert published in the monthly magazine "Tylko Rock" that they had chosen John Lennon's song. To hush up this mistake Sexbomba soon recorded a studio version of "Please Please Me" with the Polish words dedicated to John Lennon. On the 23rd of December 1998 I left CD with their Polish version of "Please Please me" - together with a short letter to Mark Lewisohn - at the MPL Office in Soho Square in London. The remaining participants of "McCartney's Day" performed "Rockestra Theme" (Midnight Blues), "Baby's Request" (two versions - one by the instrumental group "1+3" and one by the four singing girls -"Fortet"), "Drinking Song" from Liverpool Oratorio (the opera singer Marek Pawlowicz; it was a recorded video performance because the artist was unable to come to the Town Centre of Culture) and "Little Willow" (the then managing director of the Town Centre of Culture in Legionowo - Zenek Durka). I faxed a newsletter regarding "McCartney's Day" to Paul McCartney's personal assistant Geoff Baker. I also gave it to President of Legionowo Andrzej Kicman. Neither of them replied. The Warsaw Local TV made a short film about "McCartney's Day" which was presented to Warsaw viewers on the 27th of January 1998 ("Five minutes about music" by Malgorzata K. Piekarska, Joanna Wartalowicz and Waldemar Karwowski). A short film about this concert was also presented by Legionowo Local TV in February 1998. I gave an interview to the weekly "To i Owo" published in Legionowo ("Peter's Idol", January 22nd 199. Besides I personally wrote two articles about "McCartney's Day". They were published in "Zycie Warszawy" daily newspaper ("An Evening Dedicated To Paul McCartney's Music", January 19th 199 and in the monthly magazine "Tylko Rock" ("McCartney and Botswana", April 199.