A slightly belated conclusion to our four-part series on singer-songwriter Katy Carr’s journey to meet the extraordinary man, Kazimierz Piechowski, who inspired her song ‘Kommander’s Car’. In this excerpt, Kazik takes Katy on a whirlwind tour of some of his childhood haunts, uncovering more troubling memories of his brutally interrupted youth and, most vividly, a message of hope and of inner strength.
In this third part of our series in honour of Remembrance Day, Katy Carr travels to Gdansk in Poland to meet the man who inspired her song, ‘Kommander’s Car’, with his bold escape from Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in 1942. Welcomed into his home, she finds that Kazimierz Piechowski’s life story is even more incredible and touched with profound sadness than even she had imagined. (The first two instalments are here and here.)
If you missed the first instalment of this four-part series yesterday, do catch up. It won’t make much sense otherwise, y’know? In today’s blog, Katy Carr describes the chain of events that led her to travel to Poland to meet Kazimierz Piechowski, the only remaining survivor of the 1942 Auschwitz breakout in the Kommander’s car.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter and occasional Wears The Trousers contributor Katy Carr releases her long-awaited third album, Coquette, today, a wildly imaginative collection that takes us back to the 1930s and ’40s, to wartime Europe, with romantic and powerful songs largely inspired by women of the era. Dodging any potential bias, we’re not going to review it; the 4* reviews in Q, Mojo and The Daily Express speak for themselves. Instead, we’ve invited the half-Polish singer to share an incredible story with our readers, a story of how the daring escape of four men from the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in 1942 inspired her new single, ‘Kommander’s Car’, and how writing the song led her to an intense meeting and lasting friendship with the only remaining survivor, Kazimierz Piechowski. This connection forms the basis of a new, 23-minute documentary film entitled ‘Kazik & The Kommander’s Car’, directed by Hannah Lovell, recently submitted to London’s Imperial War Museum for their current short film season which runs until the end of December.
In this first of four parts, Katy explains the inspiration behind the song: the great escape itself.
Filed under: feature, interrupting yr broadcast | Tags: 2008, alan pedder, interview, katy carr, music, society of imaginary friends
interrupting yr broadcast: society of imaginary friends
The advent of social networking has given the age-old concept of imaginary friends a distinctly 21st Century twist. Wears The Trousers, for instance, has several thousand of them. Most only appear when they want us to vote for something futile or join some group for no perceptible good reason, so the idea that they might all one day swarm together as a collective to form a needy and impenetrable wall of sound frankly gives me nightmares.
Never having had an imaginary friend of my own, Snuffleupagus was my first introduction to this form of transcendental social interaction. The lovable, droopy-eyed furball was originally Big Bird’s dreamt-up companion, until ‘Sesame Street’ programmers got scared that they were damaging impressionable young minds and made him ‘real’. I was six years old. Then there was Rik Mayall in ‘Drop Dead Fred’. He seemed like a bother, and my phase of romanticising the concept was abruptly over. (I hadn’t seen ‘Harvey’ then.) Since then, my encounters with portrayals of these psychological manifestations have erred on the disturbing side. The ‘Donnie Darko’ bunny, the freakish children of ‘El Orfanato’, and now Society Of Imaginary Friends.
Filed under: feature, voice on the verge | Tags: alan pedder, interview, katy carr, music
voice on the verge #11: katy carr
With two critically lauded albums under her belt and occasional forays into writing for Wears The Trousers, to call Katy Carr a fresh discovery would be a big fib. So we won’t. But what we will say is that the depth of thought and attention to exquisite detail that has gone into the making of her upcoming concept album, set in war-torn Britain in the 1930s and ’40s, sets her even further apart from the crowd. Tapping into the inherent duality of her English-Polish heritage and the stories of her maternal grandmother, Katy embodies both the liberator and the liberated. Coquette is a fearlessly dramatic suite of songs with a very British feel that could only have come from such a unique individual. Get a taster for it tomorrow night when she appears at the Royal Opera House with her 12-piece band The Aviators as part of the annual Voices Across The World event. Here’s an entrée…
Filed under: feature, interrupting yr broadcast | Tags: alan pedder, interview, katy carr, madam, music, sukie smith
interrupting yr broadcast: madam
As far as the stories of how artists land their record deals go, the story behind the debut album from Sukie Smith (aka Madam) is both serendipitous and peculiarly normal. Intrigued by the arrival of a demo CD left accidentally blank, Reveal Records founder Tom Rose found his way to the Madam Myspace and found himself agog and going gaga for Sukie’s elegant songs. The rest, as they don’t say, is retrospection. Said album, In Case Of Emergency, hit the shops earlier this year and Wears The Trousers was keen to speak with its enigmatic creator.
With the briefest of biographies that simply extols the virtues of secrets and disguise, it took a little digging to discover that Madam is not Ms Smith’s first brush with fame. A trained actress, Sukie has graced a raft of such classic British televisual fare as ‘Casualty’, ‘Bergerac’, ‘The Bill’, ‘Peak Practice’, ‘Inspector Morse’ and, the jewel in any bit-part actresses crown, ‘EastEnders’! (More impressively, she even had a role in Nicolas Roeg’s creepy adaptation of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’ – award a thousand kitsch points and crown her queen).