Featuring an eclectic mix of punk, classical elements, and Slavic folk, the Polish band Ankh has become one of the more critically lauded and popular progressive bands in their nation.
With the entirety of their lyrics sung in Polish, the group mixes classically influenced violins and violas with a punk rhythm section and distorted guitars. Ankh was formed in Kielce, Poland, in 1991 by Piotr Krzemiñski (guitar, vocals), Micha Jelonek (violin, keyboards), Jacek Gabryszek (drums, percussion), and Krzysztof Szmidt (bass). In 1993, they appeared at the Jarocin Rock Festival where they won a record five prizes. Their first release was an eponymous cassette (later CD) released the following year. Later in 1994, the band released a limited edition album featuring unplugged versions of both old and recent material, Ankh-Koncert Akustyczny. 1995's Ziemia i Slonce ("The Earth and the Sun") found the group expanding their sound and growing as artists. Over the next couple years, the band toured Poland to mass degrees of critical and popular praise. In 1997, they signed to a new record label, Folk, and when Gabryszek left the band, they replaced him with both Andrzej Rajski and Adam Rain. In addition, Ankh added a viola player, Lukasz Lisowski, for some concerts and album tracks. 1998's ....Bêdzie Tajemnic saw a greater emphasis on rhythm in addition to the usual distorted guitar and violin sounds. That year as well, the band recorded their first video; for the single, "Blaaza." In 1999, Ankh appeared at the Rio Art Rock Festival 1999. ~ Geoff Orens, Rovi