She is the queen of the Polish stage. Her songs are sung by other generations. On 10 April 1963, at the age of 16, Halina Frąckowiak had sung on the professional stage for the first time

She owes her popularity not only to her unusual voice and beauty – she also attracted her fans’ heart with her sensitivity, consideration and humility. ‘I am going further’ became her artistic motto. The jubilee is for her another beginning. – My head is full of still unrealized ideas. The music which has not been sung yet – she said in an interview for ‘Niedziela’ (‘Life is not a fun’, edition 51/2015, available on: www.niedziela.pl).

Polish Aretha Franklin

Halina Frąckowiak reached the age of 70 on 10 April 2017 and she also began the 55th year of her artistic career. Everything began in 1963. Halina on the day of her 16th birthday went to a concert of the Czerwono-Czarni band with her friend, in the Railroad House in Poznań, where there were music preliminaries of the Second Festival of Young Talents. Her friend decided that Halina would take part in the contest, because thanks to it they could attend the concert for free. She sang ‘Mr. Wonderful’, with which she began a new chapter of her life and which made her popular as ‘Polish Aretha Franklin’.

The first offer she took were concerts with the Czerwono-Czarni band. Later she ccoperated with Polish bands like: Tony from Gdańsk, the Tarpans from Poznań and Drumlers. In spring 1969 she connected her career with a newly created band ABC of Andrzej Nebeski, and in 1972 she began her career as a solo artist. She made a record ‘Geira’ with SBB band in 1977.

The 80s of the XX century is the time of the greatest hits of the singer, among the others: ‘Paper moon’, Hearts of stars’, ‘Little elf’, ‘Write, please’. ‘Be ready for a journey’. The songs were avant-garde – the music world says that they were ahead of their epoch. The best composers wrote songs for her: Andrzej Mikołajczak, Aleksander Michalski, Katarzyna Gaertner, Marian Zimiński, Wojciech Młunarski, Marek Dutkiewicz, Wojciech Trzciński, Marek Stefankiewicz, Józef Skrzek and Jarosław Kukulski.

The son of the singer – Filip Frąckowiak thinks the record ‘Hearts of stars’, released in 1983 as the most prominent work of his mum. – The record does not have an unsuccessful song, and, surely, the best one is ‘Hearts of stars’. It is dynamic and lyrical. This is such a song that it should not be used to make the so-called covers – it is perfect as it is - he emphasizes.

Difficult moments

Fillip was born in 1980. His mum experienced dramatic moments when his father, a journalist Józef Szaniawski was arrested in 1985 for cooperation with the American Secret Intelligence and Radio Free Europe. He was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment, and when he was released in 1989, the Supreme Court defined him as the last political prisoner of Polish People’s Republic. Filip Frąckowiak spent his childhood in continuous journey. What he remembers the most is a concert tour to the USA with his mum in 1987. Tragic events were related to the tour. – We were returning from a festival in Opole when it turned out that in our flat there was a search in relation to the arrest of my dad. As a child I did not know that my dad was in prison. I was informed that he had left abroad for work. My parents decided during one of their meetings that they would not tell me the truth. I was 5 at that time – Filip Frąckowiak told ‘Niedziela’. – When my dad was a political prisoner, my mum was supported by my grandma who moved to Warsaw for that purpose. I can say that she was administering house.

Halina Frąckowiak was very strong when facing up extremely difficult events of the time of Polish People’s Republic. – I always received strength and support from prayer. In such difficult moments we always get closer to God. I was also determined because I had a son and I knew I had to be strong and healthy, that I had to live – she told ‘Niedziela’.

Friendship with Anna Jantar

One of the most beautiful ballads of Halina Frąckowiak – entitled ‘Anna does not live here any longer’ is a tribute paid to tragically deceased friend Anna Jantar. The singer died in an air catastrophe on 14 March 1980 at the Okęcie airport when she was returning from the United States.

Although both of them were from Poznań, and even live near each other, they had not met earlier than at a festival in Opole. They had been close friends since the beginning of their relation. – They were in a very good friendship – said Agata Materowicz, who set up a Music Club in Warsaw in 1984, named Anna Jantar ‘Amber’, affiliating students, scholars, doctors, artists. Halina Frąckowiak was its honourable member.

Agata Materowicz reminisces: - There was martial law. We used to organize meetings, concerts, exhibitions, authors’ evenings for our own money and people willing for this activity. And we often had troubles from it. We used to be called for the militia station to report everything, because we were accused of running an illegal activity.

One of some events was particularly inscribed in the history of the club – an exhibition in the students’ club ‘Stodoła’ (‘A barn’) devoted to Anna Jantar and a recital of honourable members of the club: Eleni and Halina Frąckowiak. Both singers took part in the club plebiscite and received awards -‘Amber Records’ – rewarded to people who particularly contributed to strengthening remembrance about Anna Jantar. Thanks to the initiative of Halina Frąckowiak, from the year 1984 the award named Anna Jantar is rewarded during debuts in Opole.

We loved our long talks, sometimes till late hours. I was really looking forward to the return of Anna Jantar from American and I remember the day of the catastrophe in 1980 very well. Her death was and is still my personal loss. Ania remains in my memory as the most sincere and open friend – says Halina Frąckowiak.

The strength of the spirit

Everybody who knows Halina Frąckowiak emphasize her consideration and subtelity. – Halina is very sensitive, has deep personal good manners. She was and is beyond any dishonest relations or the world of unfriendliness - says Agata Materowicz. – She is an unusual, wise, beautiful and noble woman with great heart and an excellent genuine artist, gifted with the angel’s voice of velvety sound – Małgorzta Szarek, a friend of the artist adds, whose friendship with the singer began in 2007 during a concert devoted to the career of Anna Jantar, within a festival ‘A landscape without You’. – What I was impressed by in Halina were her humility, gentility, elegance and her skill of living in harmony with herself – she emphasized.

Halina Frąckowiak has got a lot of fans at various ages. An example can be 23-year-old Marta Włodarska from Wieliczka, who heard and saw Halina Frąckowiak for the first time in 2015. Since then she has attended every concert she can. She has already been, among the others, to Busko-Zdrój, Zakopane, Kraków, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Skale, Limanowa, Nowy Sącz, Szczyrzyce, Łagiewniki, Warsaw. – I appreciate Mrs. Halina for her songs and also because she is a good person. She is a very warm-hearted person: she gives people her attention, she can listen to others, not repulsing anybody, after every concert she always finds some time for their fans to talk to them – Marta Włodarska told ‘Niedziela’.

The artist’s music is timeless and, probably unites generations for this reason. – Halina will never sing a text which is not wise and has no message, beauty or spirit – Małgorzata Szarek emphasized. – The greatest strength of Halina Frąckowiak is her faith in God, love to the world, people, art and life with dignity according to defined principles and values.

An extremely important person in the singer’s life was and is still St. John Paul II. – The Holy Father proclaimed civilization of love, need of respect and human dignity all over the world – she said in an interview for ‘Niedziela’ (‘Life is not a fun’, no 51/2010). She added that the most important performance in her life was a concert in 2003 in Vatican, when she was singing for the Pope. In the 70s of XX century a song ‘Our Lady of harvest’ was written, whose text is a litany to Blessed Mary the Virgin. – Cardinal Wojtyła really appreciated this song – said Filip Frąckowiak. On the occasion of beatification of Polish Pope, the artist released a record ‘Become an angel’, and she was also an artistic director of a concert on the occasion of canonization, and in the Year of St. John Paul II – 2015 – she gave a series of papal concerts.

Music and passion

The record ‘A stop without a signpost….Garages of stars’ had been awaited by fans of Halina Frąckowiak for about 20 years. The album is ‘the expression of my inner truth, my personal words defining a place where I am’ – she said as its composer. In 2013 a jubilee record with 50 songs was released for the occasion of the 50 years of artistic activity of Mrs. Halina.

The artist is a laureate of many distinctions and awards, among the others, of festivals in Opole and Sopot, national distinctions (Golden Cross of Merits for artistic achievements, Officers’ Cross of the Poland Rebirth Order), Diamond Microphone of Polish Radio. She still gives concerts, is in an excellent form and loves what she does. Under the supervision of a vocal trainer she trains her voice. Diction, and also cares about her spiritual and intellectual development. – She listens to good music from which she gets inspirations for her all actions and creative artistic projects – Małgorzata Szarek said. – I know that my mum will sing as long as it is possible. This is her life – Filip Frąckowiak added. In 2018 Halina Frąckowiak will be celebrating the 55th anniversary of her artistic work.


„Niedziela” 16/2017

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl