Laura Cook reviews the album ‘Poland Has A Task’, celebrating its queer artists and mission for progressive change.
Poland Has A Task, described as ‘a spicy and varied display of solidarity from queer artists from across Europe’ is a charity album which began with University of Bristol student, Ola Porosło. Ola co-founded the record label PHATBristol with Oli Rushen and Jacob Peters and their artist-run collective aims to cultivate progressive change by connecting communities through music. The album is clearly a true labour of love and the music inside lives up to the powerful cover art which features lots of pink, nudity and swearing – three of my favourite things. The album can be found on Bandcamp where you can also buy the limited-edition vinyl.
Proceeds from the album are going towards three charities, Strajk Kobiet, Stop Bzdurom and Aborcyjny Dream Team. Strajk Kobiet, characterised by the symbol of the red lightning strike, are unrelenting in their organisation of protest and resistance in response to the increasingly violent threats towards reproductive rights by the Polish government. Stop Bzdorum, ‘Stop Bullshit’, are a radical, feminist queer collective struggling against the intense queerphobia in Poland and counteracting misinformation used to oppress LGBTQ+ lives. Nearly a third of Poland’s towns and cities have now passed charters to become ‘LGBT-free zones’, seriously endangering the lives of queer Poles. Aborcyjny Dream Team aim to reduce the taboo surrounding abortion through education and sharing safe information for those seeking medical abortions. The near-total ban on abortion in Poland is the terrifying result of repressive, reactionary politics and these three charities are pushing back. 100% of the proceeds from Poland Has A Task goes towards supporting these incredible charities.
In Ola’s own words: ‘There is no future for me in a country that takes my basic human rights away. A country that won’t give me the choice to SAFELY and LEGALLY carry out abortion. A country that won’t let me be with a woman and marry the person I love. Every day, I am moved and inspired by the activism in Poland, Polish people risking their lives, their relationship with their families, their place in society for long overdue justice and equality. I have never before felt such pride in being Polish. I have never before felt such pride in being a Polish Woman. We fight with our music now and our culture, for freedom.’ – Bandcamp
The album embodies queer empowerment with a gorgeous array of music from queer and/or femme artists. It was a delight to listen to Bristol-based duo Muffintops with their track Not a Girl, inspired by their coming out as non-binary. DRAG, self-described as ‘Bristol Post-Romantics’, are rising onto the Bristol music scene and Poland Has A Task features their funky track The Package (Or Derek the Sex Robot). Immy Oak and Hector Who Lived collaborated to create the incredible song Friend To A Friend. Turning to music from outside Bristol, Sylvia Baudelaire is a trans rapper and sex worker living in an LGBT-free zone in Poland whose track Bratz is a playful feminist anthem with the amazing lyrics ‘you can’t sit with us’ and ‘sexy glamour cunt’. There is a haunting, grungy tune Holy Holes from the popular Polish singer Brodka, as well as a beautiful electro-pop ballad by Brixton-based Jessica Winter. Poland Has A Task presents a carefully curated album which unites musical creativity in a powerful protest against prejudice.
PHATBristol have some awesome events coming up including a jazz night at Mr Wolfs on 17th June with two bands, Rwkus and Goya. Mr Wolfs will also be host to PHAT’s queer/femme club nights starting 28th June. If you can’t wait until June for live music, there will be regular Open Mic Wednesdays held at The Cloak and Dagger from 19th May. Incredibly weird and wonderful Bristol-based duo Try Me, featured individually in Poland Has A Task (Bendy Wendy and Hector Who Lived) and managed by PHATBristol, have a new single out called Heavy Lunch – please watch the music video, it’s magical. If you want to see Try Me live they will be playing Mr Wolfs on 3rd June. Save the dates! PHATBristol’s Linktree holds all the information you need, so go show them some love.
Artwork by Laura Cook.