pl | en

MUSIC ⸜ „HERE’S AN ALBUM” series № 8

Dziewczyna szamana

Record label:

Released: 1996




translation Marek Dyba
images Wojciech Pacuła | press releases

No 220

September 1, 2022

"Here's an album" is a series devoted to exceptional Polish music albums, with particular attention paid to the sound and release quality. In the eighth episode of this series, we present Justyna Steczkowska's debut, prepared by top musicians of that time.

USTYNA STECZKOWSKA'S ALBUM titled Dziewczyna szamana has its own entry in the Polish version of the Wikipedia. This is because at one time it was one of the most commented, rated and cited Polish albums. As many as five singles with songs from it were released, and thanks to the sale of over 100,000 copies it went platinum; To date, over 350,000 copies have been sold.

The album won five Fryderyk awards of the Phonographic Academy in the following categories: Vocalist of the Year, Phonographic Debut of the Year, Song of the Year (Oko za oko, słowo za słowo), Album of the year - pop, Music producer , Arranger of the Year (Grzegorz Ciechowski). A separate statuette was awarded to the producers of the music video Oko za oko…. The album was released by Pomaton EMI.


WHEN BUYING A MUSIC ALBUM, or listening to it from one of the streaming services, it is "described" in two ways: by the artist (s) and the title. Sometimes we notice the label, and extremely inquisitive ones will pay attention to who recorded a given album. This is the customer's perspective. On the other hand, from the publisher's perspective, the most important person is someone else - the producer.

RICHARD JAMES BURGESS, author of the monograph The History of Music Production , writes in his study:

Music production is different from, though associated with, the music industry, the recording industry, and recording technology. Music production exists because of the recording technique; it has become a profession influenced by the recording industry and is associated with the broadly understood music industry. Producers participate in the following aspects: creative, musical, technical, socioeconomic, business ones - both between two partners and between business and the recipient - along with co-authors, owners and users of recorded music.

⸜ RICHARD JAMES BURGESS, The History of Music Production, p. XIII, Oxford University Press, New York 2014.

As you can see, the scope of the producer's activity is extremely wide, and what's more - it has changed over time. Initially, this profession was not distinguished from the others present in the recording studio, as its role was played by many different people. With time, this started to change and more and more often the producer became an intermediary between artists and the publisher. After he also became an advisor in the field of repertoire selection, negotiating with its publishers, his role increased significantly.

For a long time the producer could not touch - literally - the recording devices. This was the responsibility of the studio staff, including production engineers and technicians. Moreover, as AL SCHMITT, the man recording TOTO, Ray Charles, Diana Krall or Sinatra - to name only few - mentions in his autobiography - the problem was that the producers did not receive any remuneration depending on the sales, like everyone else, involved in the album.

Until the 1960s, they were almost exclusively "staff" producers, that is, employed full-time by record labels. The time will not come for independent producers, whose payouts will depend on the number of recordings, until the 1970s, when the musicians themselves will be playing this role more and more often. Schmitt says that from 1962 to 1966, when he was producing for RCA, he was making $ 17,500 a year plus $ 5,000 in bonus money. And that it was much less than he previously earned as an audio engineer.

In 1967, working with eleven artists, he got to $ 22,000, and it was then that he told his boss that he was fed up with sixteen hours of work a day and asked for a reduction of the number of artists he looked after. However, as he was not heard, he left midway through the recording of JEFFERSON AIRPLANE's After Bathing at Baxter’s album. When band’s members found out about it, they hired him as a freelancer, and he received a check for $ 50,000 plus a percentage of sales for finishing the album production.

As you can see, the producer's meaning grew over time and eventually he became the most important, often more important than the artists themselves, person working on a given album. In the 1970s, he became the recording engineer’s partner, instructing him both during recording and mixing. You surely know that there is something called "own sound" of many labels - for example ECM. And this is true despite the fact that the latter's albums are recorded in different places, by many different people, on technologically changing equipment. This is due to the producer, in this case the head of the company, Manfred Eichert, who’s signature can be found on almost all of their releases, and in the photos we can usually see him behind the mixing console, right next to the sound engineer (more HERE).

With time, producer started to play various instruments, which sped up when synthesizers and later samplers became popular - during the recordings more and more often he acted as an additional musician. He was often a musician himself, let’s mention FRANK ZAPPA, who took over the studio from his friend in the mid-1960s, changed its name to Studio Z and since then he has been recording and producing his albums. Nowadays, in this context, it is worth mentioning the name of MAX MARTIN, who created such stars as Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

VIRGIL MOOREFIELD believes that by this stage the producer was already the most important person during the recording of an album and the studio became a "musical instrument" for him. In his 2005 study, entitled The Producer as Composer, he refers to the PINK FLOYD, which while working on the The Dark Side of The Moon was completely immersed in its production process. SAMANTHA BENNETT says that for her they were a classic example of the '70s' "production-aware artist".

In Poland, due to the specific shape of the market, including the music market, in the times of the Polish People's Republic, that is until 1990, there were no independent producers. They were not mentioned on the records at all, and sometimes they were referred to as "production manager", which marked their subordination to the recording label. So it was a reflection of the state of the music industry in the US, but in the 1950-1970 period. In the 1990s, not much changed in this respect. Therefore, GRZEGORZ CIECHOWSKI taking up this role was an extraordinary event.

The founder, songwriter, composer and member of the band named REPUBLIKA, later performing solo as OBYWATEL G.C., with time took into his own hands not only the musical process, but also production. In 1996, when Justyna Steczkowska's debut album was released, he played on, and for which - under the pseudonym Ewa Omernik - he wrote all the lyrics and which he also produced, it was a revolution. The more so because Ciechowski did it perfectly. Initially, however, it was not at all certain whether this cooperation would take place at all.


MACIEJ CHMIEL, MUSIC JOURNALIST, collaborator of the entertainment department of Telewizja Polska, once said:

After the performance in Opole, Justyna found herself on a downward slope. We knew that if someone did not show up to take care of her professionally, she would disappear somewhere. Such girls who were interesting, sang in the Metro musical, won the Opole Debuts, we already had had many. Poland is a country of wasted talents, we did not want Justyna to be the next one., accessed: 5.07.2020.

The authors of the Trójkowa (PRIII) audition from 2010 even talk about a "brutal conversation" that took place in the cafe of the Opole amphitheater. The thing is that although the young singer - she was twenty-three at the time - was already known for her four-octave voice, she had just had a failed performance at the 31st National Polish Song Festival in Opole, as well as a not very successful trip to Dublin, where she represented Poland for 40 Eurovision Song Contest. Although in 1994 she charmed the jurors in the TV program (TVP2) Szansa na sukces, daringly performing Maanam’s Boskie Buenos, her career was called into question.

The meeting, organized by Maciej Chmiel and the music producer Tomasz Kopeć, was aimed at "talking" to Steczkowska and persuading her to take an important step, which was, however, a step into the unknown. The gentlemen offered her cooperation with Ciechowski. As we read in many interviews - initially it was not an easy situation for either side and the artists could not find a common ground. As she said, she did not like the Republika band and believed that Grzegorz Ciechowski as a producer would not work.

The artist did not receive formal music education, because after graduating from the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Public Music School, she studied violin at the Academy of Music in Gdańsk for only a year, and she also wasn’t accepted by the Danuta Baduszkowa Musical Theater in Gdynia, to the Jazz and Popular Music Department of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, or the Vocal and Acting Department of the Academy of Music in Gdańsk. However today, no one doubts that she is one of the most important Polish vocalists.

As a singer, she started in rock bands: Wańka Wstańka, 1984 and Agressiva 69 that played heavy, dark music. Under her name, she recorded 12 studio albums, four with other artists, she is also the author of the music track for the Na koniec świata movie directed by Magdalena Łazarkiewicz and Joanna Żółkowska (1999). Wikipedia lists her awards: six Fryderyk statuettes, two Wiktors, the Superjedynka and Amber Nightingale awards, as well as the Bronze Medal for Merit to Culture - Gloria Artis. She is the protagonist of the documentary by Jacek Taszakowski and Leszek Molski Justyna, telling story of her life and artistic path.

Not forgetting Steczkowska's talent, her ambitions and the many people who later helped her, it must be clearly stated that the artist's career was founded in cooperation with Grzegorz Ciechowski, who produced her first two albums, on which he also played, composed some of the material and wrote all the lyrics for them. Apart from the Dziewczyna szamana it was also the 1997 album Naga. Moreover, these two albums seem, both to yours truly and to most commentators, her best artistic achievements. The creation of the Dziewczyna… is therefore closely related to the leader of the Republika and herstory can not be separated both from the history of the band and from Ciechowski himself.


THE YEARS 1994-1996 WERE extremely difficult for the leader of the Republika. On the one hand, this is time of great artistic successes. On May 15th 1995, the album Republika marzeń is released, which the musician recorded with the band that was reactivated in 1990. They perform extensively together, also in the United States and Canada. Ciechowski himself is also very successful - in 1995 as GRZEGORZ Z CIECHOWA he records the OjDADAna album with stylizations of Polish folk songs based on electronic rhythms, for which he is awarded a Fryderyk Award. Moreover, he is the person that record labels ask to produce albums of their artists.

It begins still in 1991 with the Mona Mur Warsaw single, and a year later an album by the Attractive Kazimierz i Cyganie (Prawdziwa miłość , Polton 1992) is released. The greatness of his talent, however, only becames known in 1994. The KASIA KOWALSKA’s album Gemini, recorded in summer in Izabelin near Warsaw, is born in pain - this is what the authors of the entry on the Polish Radio website say about its creation. And next:

The 21-year-old singer did not feel chemistry either with her manager or with the band accompanying her in the studio. The works were put on the right track as soon as Grzegorz Ciechowski, employed as a producer, started his work. - He came and brought out what was most interesting in me - said Kowalska with conviction.

Ultimately, the singer's debut album went double platinum and elevated the her among the most popular artists. A special contribution that Ciechowski made to Kasia's career was to convince her to write original song lyrics. - He might as well have written much better lyrics himself and had me sing them, but he didn't want to. I certainly owe him a lot - said Kowalska.

Producent i akuszer karier,, accessed: 5.07.2020.

At that time, however, Ciechowski is going through an extremely difficult time in his personal life. As the author of the biography of the band Republika, LESZEK GNOIŃSKI writes, "Grzegorz fell in love with Ania Wędrowska, a fan of the band," who had followed the band since the early 1980s. She was one of those fans, as Gnoiński says, who were always hanging around Grzegorz, helping him take care of a small child. When Ciechowski became involved with Małgosia Potocka and moved to Warsaw, Anna was there ready to answer almost every call: she helped them raise their daughter Weronika, and then she started taking care of the house, cooking and cleaning. At one point she moved in with them.

The couple began to have an affair, but when Wędrowska received a Green Card in 1993, she left for the United States. As he says, she wanted to disappear to give Grzegorz the space to make the best decision, even if it meant their end. Do you remember me mentioning that the Republika went to tour the USA? - As it turned out, the musician was determined and contacted her before going overseas. After arriving in the USA, they went together to the Cricket Club, where the band was to perform:

„Grzegorz asked me if I would marry him. I totally did not expect it and said I had to think about it. (...) I agreed that same evening. " A dozen or so days later in New York they got married in Buddhism ceremony.

⸜ LESZEK GNOIŃSKI, Republika. Nieustanne tango, Warsaw 2016, p. 505.

In August 1994, already in Poland, they officially got married, and after a few months their daughter Helena was born. They settled in Kazimierz Dolny, where the musician built his new recording studio - Studio GC in the garage. A new recording place was built from scratch.

Małgorzata Potocka, Ciechowski's former partner, felt betrayed and furious. After returning from the States, they went to their friends’ house near Warsaw, where they were supposed to explain everything to each other. After the conversation, Potocka returned to Puzonistów Street, to their common home, where the musician had his sleek recording studio. The next day he came home and he saw the end of his past life: the house was ruined. Two days later, the same happened to the studio and nothing was left of it. He left there a computer with music, multi-track master tapes, video recordings, all the equipment. Some of the instruments survived only because they did not return from the concerts.

It turned out that his partner got rid of all instruments, except the piano, as well as recording equipment and archives. Gnoiński quotes LESZEK KAMIŃSKI, one of the most important Polish sound engineers and producers, who said that many years later he saw this equipment in a studio belonging to the Popkultura band near Warsaw, which Potocka was helping at that time. Ciechowski's "banishment" was therefore a multi-stage one, because it we have to remember that at that time the albums of the Republika were produced by M. M. Potocka Production, a company owned by Małgorzata Potocka.

It must have been a huge blow for Ciechowski. For him, the studio was a synonym of freedom and it was there where he realized himself. It was his dream. As Paweł Kuczyński, bass player, co-founder of Republika, recalled, at the beginning of the road for the leader of the group, "it would be ideal if he had a position like Niemen - he lived in Warsaw and worked in his own studio". The attempt to reconstruct the studio in the difficult conditions of Kazimierz Dolny was therefore a kind of rising from the ashes.

There is a mystery related to it. In the booklet for the Justyna Steczkowska’s Compact Disc we read: "the recordings were made between November 13th 1995 and January 5th 1996 in the Hendrix studio in Lublin". It would make sense. Since the Republika’s 1991 the band’s “court” sound engineer is the already mentioned Leszek Kamiński. His influence on Polish music is difficult to overestimate, although the scale of his talent is well summed up by the "Fryderyk" Music Awards, when they were still the most important Polish music awards - he got fourteen nominations and six statuettes. If he worked with foreign performers, besides the Fryderyk, there would also win, I am sure of it, multiple Grammy awards.

Anyway, when Ciechowski asked him to record the Republika marzeń album Kaminski unexpectedly refused. As he later explained, he had "a lot of orders" for a year in advance. He could not, as he says, put Ciechowski in front of others. Even though they were friends. The musician took it very personally and did not speak to Kamiński for over a year. So the recording was made by PAWEŁ SKURA in the nearby Hendrix studio in Lublin - among others, also Budka Suflera recorded there. As they wanted to go back to their roots, the material was recorded on a 16-track analog cassette deck, even though digital recording programs like Cubase and Pro Tools were becoming more widely available at the time.

As I said, recording Steczkowska's album in Lublin would make sense. Only that the artist says something else. As she recalled in the radio interview, Dziewczyna szamana, released in 1996, was created in Ciechowski's home studio in Kazimierz Dolny: "I just lived at his house, together with his family. In the morning Grzegorz would go to the store and bring fresh bread, cheese and butter. Those were wonderful moments." (

Some other time she said:

I had the opportunity to see his private life, because when I was living in Kazimierz Dolny, the album 'Dziewczyna Szamana' was being made. Grzegorz, seeing that I live alone in an old guesthouse, invited me to live with his family. He was producing my songs downstairs, I was upstairs with his Ania and the children, we played and cooked, and when he came upstairs to his family, I would go downstairs to work. That's how we exchanged. I remember that he always got up early in the morning, went to the bakery for fresh bread, and breakfast was always super fresh. We all sat at the table and ate breakfast. It reminded me of a family that I missed then because it was so far away.

Steczkowska wzruszyła się wspominając Ciechowskiego: Dał mi rodzinę, której nie było, Dec 21st 2014, accessed: 6.07.2022.

It seems that the answer to this question lies in the way of work organization, which Ciechowski developed in his studio at Puszkarska Street in Warsaw, and which he continued in Kazimierz Dolny. The musician in Kazimierz worked on sounds, loops and sequences using programs on the Atari computer - perhaps it was the Cubase program. It was a pre-recording and pre-production phase . Leszek Biolik recalls:

It wasn't a studio, it was a garage. (...) First you walked these three or five kilometers on foot, and then you sat for seven hours on a stool and waited for your friend to create a few-second sequence on the Atari computer. It wasn't a good work.

⸜ LESZEK GNOIŃSKI, ibidem, p. 514.

Although the bassist talks about creating the Republika's album, the work on Steczkowska's album was probably similar. With Dziewczyna… the pre-production was based on the joint work of Ciechowski, Steczkowska and JACK KRÓLIK, then guitarist of Chłopcy z Placu Broni, who came to Kazimierz for some time especially for this purpose.

It was then that it turned out that the singer did not want to write lyrics. Grzegorz said he would do it. In order not to totally overshadow Steczkowska, he took the pseudonym Ewa Omernik - Omernik was his mother's maiden name. The media did not know about the true identity of the songwriter until April 5, 1997. At the Fryderyk Awards ceremony, when the artist once again came to pick up her statuette - she won four of these - she took Ciechowski's hand and announced to the world that Omernik was him.

Anyway, the three of them would lock themselves in the garage after breakfast and prepare songs. And only when they had all the songs ready they went to the Hendrix studio. Because it is true that the album was finally created there. Unfortunately, it is not known how it was recorded, i.e. on digital or analog medium. If I were to bet, I would say that the same analog multi-track tape recorder was used as on the album Republika marzeń and the same analog mixing console (more about the studio in Andrzej Poniatowski's columns HERE and HERE |PL|).

Andrzej mentions the M3 tape recorders, while Sławek GUADKY Gładyszewski in an interview for the portal spoke about the 24-track Studer tape recorder, but he also mentioned Pro Tools:

The very next day we visited one of the best studio facilities of that time ('95), located in the building of Radio Lublin - STUDIO HENDRIX ... And my jaw dropped! Huge table (Amek HENDRIX), STUDER 24-ch tape recorder, ProTools TDM, Lexicon 300, Lexicon 480L, fully adapted sound engineer’s room, huge GENELECs etc ... I was in heaven!

⸜ JAKUB KRZYWAK, Sławek Gładyszewski – dźwięk, 30.12.2009, accessed: 7.07.2022.

We already know HOW and WHERE. However, to be able to record anything, you need a band for it. Jacek Królik got the task of completing it. As Gnoiński writes, he dreamed of working with ANDRZEJ SMOLIK (keyboard player: solo, Wilki, Myslovitz, Maria Peszek). And he did play with him. You can hear the great musicians on the album, as if it was an album by some renown artist who had been playing for many years, so everyone wants to record albums with.

Apart from Królik and Smolik - when they checked in together at the Grand Hotel, the receptionist thought they were joking - also ZBIGNIEW WEGEHAUPT participated in the recordings. He was one of the most interesting Polish double bass jazz players, who in the 1980s collaborated with Stanisław Sojka on albums from the "Polish Jazz" series Blublula and Sojka Sings Ellington. In 1992, together with Ciechowski, he recorded the Obywatel świata. The double bass player in some of the pieces was replaced by Biolik on the bass, and ANTONI ZIUT GRALAK played trumpet. Ciechowski played keyboards and flute, he also programmed electronic percussion. MAGDALENA STECZKOWSKA, Justyna's sister, sang in the choirs.

The band was also looked after by highly regarded manager, JERZY TOLAK, who also worked with, among others, Republika, privately the owner of one of the largest Beatles memorabilia collections in Poland. The photos for the cover and during the session were taken by ANDRZEJ ŚWIETLIK, one of the most important contemporary Polish photographers, lecturer, co-founder of the avant-garde-anarchist artistic group Łódź Kaliska.

In a word – Steczkowska got a dream-team group of people to work with.


ANSWERING A QUESTION DURING THE INTERVIEW for the portal, Weronika, Ciechowski's daughter from his a relationship with Małgorzata Potocka, replies that he had the soul of a person who is constantly developing and that "he was a crazy gadget fan". In this context, "Gadget fan" speaks of the need to posses the newest "gadgets", on the one hand, and, on the other hand, of a kind of pedantism.

Thanks to this combination, the Steczkowska’s album release was perfect. The number one medium at that time was the Compact Disc - and this is the original medium of the Dziewczyna szamana. The glass master was made in the Austrian DADC pressing plant and the CD itself was also pressed there (59031 1 01401 2 1).

Apart from the regular edition, however, a "Limited Edition" was also released, with an additional cardboard "box" and an additional CD (POM CD 091). It was one of the first in Poland, rarely seen outside of Japan, digital single with a diameter of 3”. It included a remix of the title track and, recorded by a different line-up and elsewhere, Moja intymność. The Mini Disc, one of the few that Polish phonography can boast about, was a complete blast. And there was also a cassette tape (POM 091).

It seems very strange, but for twenty years not a single re-issue of the album had been released, and it had not been remastered either. Although in 2003, as part of the "Golden Collection" series, the record label collected the singer's greatest hits and released them on the Moja intymność album, it is hard to consider it something new.

So the release of the vinyl version, with thick covers, was a big event. The album was pressed on red vinyl on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its debut. But there is one more version - only 200 copies were made for the store in a beautiful, maroon color. In press release it was stated that the sound had been re-mastered, but there is no information about it on the album. So let's assume that this is exactly the same material as on the 1996 CD version.


JOURNALISTS, BUT ALSO REGULAR fans for years emphasized how great the album sounded. Justyna Steczkowska’s album, listened to after many years, surprises with its maturity and complex artistic expression. Grzegorz Ciechowski was an excellent musician, but as a producer he turned out to be simply outstanding. He built a musical whole that has internal consistency both within individual tracks and within the entire album. But its sound also reminds us that it was created at a specific time, because - contrary to media "legend" - it is not sonically unique. Production - a masterpiece, sonically - good, high level. But with some issues.

The album's opening title track has a low-set sound and a withdrawn upper middle. It makes it sound pretty dull. It differs from contemporary production by the lack of brightening and sharpening, as well as by a "fat" sound. The sound opens quite high with the vocalist's voice and acoustic guitar played by Jacek Królik. We get a lot of space, but rather behind the loudspeakers, as well as low bit bloomy bass. It’s bloomy because there is no good definition and no proper tightness at the very bottom. The issue of stereophony has been resolved very nicely, because the sounds are spread out in the panorama, and although Steczkowska's voice, positioned quite far in the mix, draws the attention, it is not a dominant feature.

The electronic beat in Czy to mi… is boosted by Zbigniew Wegehaput's brilliantly played double bass. It has a very nice timbre and definition. Just like in the title song, the panorama was used in a thoughtful way, because Antoni Ziut Gralak's trumpet was scattered in it, as well as the keys played by Andrzej Smolik. The trumpet has a lot of reverb, especially in the solo fragments, which comes just before the middle of the third minute.

The opening guitar in the Tatuuj mnie sounds great. It has an open, juicy timbre. But more importantly, for the first time on this album, in the middle of the first minute, there is a stronger treble, thanks to electronic drums. Previously, they were carefully hidden and mixed into other layers. The vocal has a similar timbre as before, i.e. it is based on the midrange, mainly below 1kHz. It is not very big, but quite legible.

And again the bass is, in my opinion, the most important element - I mean in the Nie kochani. An acoustic guitar and a trumpet were applied to the trip-hop background of the drum loops. The space is great here, with a good depth, but most of all in the width dimension. The bass is low, but, similar to the opening track on this album, it doesn't have a very good definition.

It is better with a double bass that opens Oko za oko. Something bad happened with the vocal here, which is muffled and dull. The sound is opened by the flute played by Ciechowski, but even the sampled pops&cracks of a vinyl record are rather suggested than actually realized. Because it is generally the way, this album is recorded - without the upper treble, with a strong midrange and bass. Even when a strong, distorted guitar enters, as in Myte dusze, it serves as a background, not a lead instrument.

And again - the fantastic Grawitacja with a strong double bass has a withdrawn treble and upper midrange. This creates an effect of depth and vividness, similar to how we perceive the sound of tube amplifiers. It all arranges itself beautifully, and smoothly. The downside is calming down of the dynamics. Although, from time to time, as in Boskie Buenos ..., thanks to sharp guitars and great keys, the pace quickens, as does the listener's heartbeat.

It is a very atmospheric album in general. Which in the Wrogu mój is emphasized by wide stage, with backing vocals and keyboards. The vocals are placed closer here than before, as in the great-sung chorus, when there is an electric guitar under the voice, but spread between two channels, with a brighter keys underneath, it all adds up to a dense, multi-layered presentation. It is surprisingly legible. Despite the fact that it is not a resolving sound, let alone a selective one.

Every now and then its sound opens up, but nowhere as much as in Ukołysze mnie sitowie, where the vocal on a very long reverb has a bright treble, and the timbre is enhanced by the sound of insects . Also the acoustic guitar that opens the piece W Kazimierzu Dolnym plays a similar role. Even here, however, you can hear an emphasized, low bass, which, together with a dense, low-set vocal, creates a rather warm, rather dark than open sound.

You can hear the strong work of the compressors, because even the Karuzela z Madonnami, a dynamite piece, has a calmed pulse. This is a track with presentation focused on the axis and even a classical guitar, spread over the channels, does not change this perception. A good sonic summary of the entire album is the acoustic version of the title track that closes it. It's just an acoustic guitar and a voice, but there is density, warmth and smoothness here. Even here, however, there is no open treble and dynamics.

⸜ CD SINGLE 3” Added in the limited edition of the Dziewczyna szamana, the three-inch disc with two tracks does not change this perception, at least when it comes to the remix (astro dance mix) of the title track. That's why I listened to Moja intymność with such curiosity, a piece played by different musicians, recorded by someone else and produced by someone else.

Steczkowska's voice is more open and clearer here. The whole thing is also set higher. But on the other hand, the bass has a contoured, too hard - for my taste - sound and there is actually no low bass in it - there is upper and middle range of it. The panorama is also narrower than on the album. So the album does not introduce a new sound to the album, although the track itself is very nice.

⸜ LONG PLAY Listening to the vinyl version was quite a disappointment. I could hear that it was the same mastering, adapted only to a different medium. The dark timbre and warmth are kept, which is cool. At the same time, however, the resolution and selectivity are lower than on a CD. There is also no lower bass. The cool thing is that its pulse was kept, it was not extinguished, but the CD offers a a much lower extension.

Generally, the LP has too little clarity, you can hear everything in a muffled way. The CD also sounded like that to some extent, but I could hear it as a producer's trick, and here I perceived it more as a mistake. The lack of sharpness is a plus, but this is the only advantage that I can point out. I can be wrong, but the vinyl sounds as if it was cut from 16/44.1 files, or maybe even from a copy of the CD.


JUSTYNA STECZKOWSKA’S Dziewczyna szamana is one of the best-produced albums in the history of Polish phonography - at least when it comes to music of this type, that is combining elements of rock, pop and dance music. Perhaps these quantifiers are not needed, and suffice it to say that it is "one of the best" albums in general. It owes it to the extraordinary people who led to its creation, with Grzegorz Ciechowski at the helm, who had an idea for both the album and the artist, and to Justyna Steczkowska, who realized this idea brilliantly.

This album was created according to the best world standards. At the beginning, the vigilant managers looking after the singer found a suitable producer for her, and he found the right musicians. Nothing was left to chance, because the graphics by ANDRZEJ ŚWIETLIK are also one of the top examples of this type. Without it, the album would not be the same.

Released a year later, the Naga album was created according to a similar formula, and although musically brilliant and equally well produced, did not have the same impact force as the debut. Even it, however, is an example of the excellent work of a whole group of people, which resulted in the status of a Gold Record achieved for 100,000 copies sold. Which cannot be said about the next Steczkowska's albums.

Already on the album from 2000, entitled Dzień i Noc, the lack of Ciechowski's hand can be felt. Although the lyrics were written jointly by Edyta Bartosiewicz and Kasia Kowalska, so the hottest names in Polish music at the time, they did not have the power of Ewa Omernik, and the production for which Paweł Steczkowski, the singer's brother, was responsible, has nothing to do with Ciechowski’s mastery. It seems that closing in the family circle was a mistake. Until 2022, Justyna Steczkowska released sixteen solo albums, but they did not have the Dziewczyna Szamana... class and only the Alkimja from 2002 received a Fryderyk award.

Some of the witnesses of these events are no longer alive. Grzegorz Ciechowski died suddenly on December 22, 2001 in Warsaw as a result of complications after heart surgery. He was buried on January 4, 2002 at the Powązki Military Cemetery. He was 44 years old. On January 14, 2012, at the age of 57, Zbigniew Wegehaupt passed away. On November 16, 2016, Paweł Skura, the sound engineer on the Dziewczyna szamana, left us. He was 55 years old. Let me end with a cliche, but there is no need to be original: they left behind their music. And it is excellent.


⸜ Entry: ‘GRZEGORZ CIECHOWSKI’, in:, November 2010, author: Maciej Sienkiewicz.
⸜ Entry: ‘LESZEK KAMIŃSKI’, in:, accessed: 5.07.2020.

⸜ BARBARA KACZMARCZYK, Weronika Ciechowska-Weiss: Tata miał duszę osoby, która się nieustannie rozwija. Był strasznym gadżeciarzem, Sept. 14th 2015, accessed: 5.07.2020.
⸜ DARIUSZ DUDZIŃSKI, Kronika szorstkiej przyjaźni, 03/2017, accessed: 5.07.2020.
⸜ JAKUB KRZYWAK, Sławek Gładyszewski – dźwięk, 30.12.2009, accessed: 7.07.2022.
⸜ MARCIN KUSY, Piosenka prawdę ci powie III – Justyna Steczkowska „Dziewczyna szamana”, „Audycje Kulturalne – w dobrym tonie”, June 21st 2020, accessed: 5.07.2020.

Ciechowski jako akuszer karier Kasi Kowalskiej i Justyny Steczkowskiej,, 23.12.2021, accessed: 5.07.2020.
Producent i akuszer karier,, accessed: 5.07.2020.
Steczkowska wzruszyła się wspominając Ciechowskiego: Dał mi rodzinę, której nie było, December 21st 2014, accessed: 5.07.2020.

⸜ LESZEK GNOIŃSKI, Republika. Nieustanne tango, Warszawa 2016.
⸜ RICHARD JAMES BURGESS, The history of music production, s. XIII, Oxford University Press, Nowy Jork 2014.
⸜ VIRGIL MOOREFIELD, The Producer as Composer, MIT Press, Cambridge, Londyn 2005.
⸜ HOWARD MASSEY, Behind The Glass Volume II. Top record Producers Tell How They Craft The Hits, Backbeat Books, San Francisco 2009.
⸜ HOWARD MASSEY, Behind The Glass. Top record Producers Tell How They Craft The Hits, Backbeat Books, San Francisco 2000.
⸜ MICHAEL JARRETT, Pressed for All Time), Chapell Hill: The University of Northern California Press 2016.
⸜ SAMANTHA BENNETT, Modern Records, Maverick Methods. Technology and Process in Popular Music Record Production 1978-2000), Bloomsbury Academic, Londyn-Nowy Jork 2019.

„Here’s an album…” series

˻ 1 ˺ STAN GETZ, Stan Getz w Polsce), Polskie Nagrania „Muza” ⸜ 1960 • see HERE.
˻ 2 ˺ PORTER BAND, Helicopter)s, Pronit ⸜ 1980 • see HERE.
˻ 3 ˺ VARIUS MANX, The Beginning), Polskie Nagrania „Muza” ⸜ 1991• see HERE.
˻ 4 ˺ KOMEDA QUINTET, Astigmatic), Polskie Nagrania „Muza” ⸜ 1996 • see HERE.
˻ 5 ˺ 2 PLUS 1, Blue Lights Of Pasadena (Disco Version), Maxi-SP, Autobahn Musik Produktion GmbH/Express JAPAN ⸜ 1981 • see HERE.
˻ 6 ˺ HELMUT NADOLSKI, Meditation/Medytacje, Veriton Records SXV-786 ⸜ 1974 • see HERE.
˻ 7 ˺ ABRAXAS, 99, Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0102 | MMP CD 0103 ⸜ 1999 • see HERE.