Children’s Day in Poland with Kasia Sokołowska, mistress singer!

On the occasion of Children’s International Day, has decided to offer its youngest readers a meeting with the teacher that all children could dream of having: Kasia Sokołowska, also a singer and musician in her classes. Polish, Kasia fell in love with French at an age where others set their eyes on fashionable rock bands, and this language turned her life upside down, opening her way to teaching but also to singing, always accompanied by her guitar!

June 1: International Children’s Day in Poland

You know, it’s kids’ day on June 1st ! Says Emilia, a 7-year-old French-Polish girl who enjoys these words like a delicious candy, and suggests: ” today is MY day, the one for the cinema at school, for the overdose of cakes and for the lucky ones, gifts ! Back to the story of International Children’s Day, as that’s what it’s officially called!

International Children’s Day was first proclaimed in Geneva at the 1925 World Conference on the Rights of the Child. Since 1950, in former communist countries, it is celebrated on June 1st.

Elsewhere, Universal Children’s Day is celebrated on November 20th commemorating the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1959. Kasia Sokołowska, you are a French teacher, singer, musician, what made you learn French? Is this your working language today?

Kasia Sokołowska: It was my high school teacher who passed on the love of French to me, it was the 90s, we could not travel like now, there was a whole connection! I started my apprenticeship in high school (pretty late compared to my students who are sometimes 2 or 3 years old when they start). I had a wonderful teacher, Danuta, to give only his first name, who was passionate about his subject and who also encouraged me to go to France. I literally fell in love with this language. After high school, I went to France, again thanks to Danuta, and worked as an au pair, which was rare in the late 90s.

What luck: I was welcomed in the French aristocracy, I lived in a castle … What a disagreement for a young girl who came from Poland barely out of the PRL period.

Then followed studies of Romanesque philology in Wrocław and Lublin, then a professional life at Gefco, Renault, Groupe Total. When my daughter was born, everything changed and I decided to teach children and teenagers French, so I set up a language school: Languages ​​in French or Latin.

Today, I consider myself a singer and composer, in addition to being a teacher. It was a long process because for years I only considered music as a passion. And then I took the plunge!

Kasia Sokolowska

What is your relationship to the French language? What place does it occupy in your life?

French has an important place in my life. I love it and I know my students feel that passion.

Sometimes I think I must have been French in a previous life! Although I also sing and compose in Polish, I prefer to do it in French, I do not know why, but that’s how it is!

Music in general fills a very important part of my life. Honestly, except for small exceptions, I only listen to French music and all styles. I do not know if you have noticed it, but French composition is very different from what is made in English or Polish, so I constantly immerse myself in French music to be able to compose, on my part, “à la française”! I am always looking for inspiration and I sing all the time …

How the album hedgehogs and butterflies was he born?

Right from the beginning, where I teach French, my guitar has always followed me during my lessons. I made songs and immediately found out that the kids remembered them very quickly. At that time I did not know where it came from …

Professionals then explained to me that I had a special gift for connecting lyrics and melodies. The result is that my songs stay in my head and facilitate learning. Parents of students or co-teachers often asked me where I could find these songs, on the internet or in an album? I would answer that they were not available because they were my own songs …

My dream, you understood, was to make an album, but I did not know how to achieve it!

You must never get discouraged: 6 years ago I went to the studio with a song, but a study leader discouraged me from saying that I did not play in the rhythm – which is probably true, but I gave up … Still, it was always in my head and 2 years ago I said to myself:

“Come on, Kasia does it! And suddenly little miracles appeared, one after the other … That’s how it is always in life, when you start doing something, doors open and people show up. You just have to start – too even if you are very scared …

Who collaborated on the development of the album?

The list is long! I can not imagine” hedgehogs and butterflies without Andrzej Rejman and Chris Schittulli.

When I decided to make this album, I wrote to a composer, the creator of the songs: the Polish improviser Andrzej Rejman (whose music touches my deepest cells), to ask his help and play the piano in a few songs. Andrzej listened to them, said he would help me and besides, he would be the artistic director of my album! I did not believe it … And even today I still do not believe it! Especially since our collaboration has developed really well. He became my coach and I made a good friend!

The other person who played an important role in this project is Chris Schittulli– singer, vocal coach, with whom I first took singing lessons! And finally, I also found myself in his studio to record 12 of my songs! Chris sings something with me.

I would also like to quote: Jozwa Czyza Belgian singer (whose stage name is Mintoft), Mamadou B Senegalese living in Poland, singer, actor at Teatr Powszechny; without forgetting Przemek Wojciechowski, a very talented accordion player, Agnieszka Brymas who plays the kora (a Senegalese instrument between harp and guitar), Laurent Vavon on harmonica, Piotr Brymas for percussion. Let’s add so as not to forget anyone: Rafał Smolinski who arranged some of the songs and it Insati Studio who made this beautiful cover!

In addition, I absolutely would my students – my first supports, sing with me! The study leader came to the school to admit them.

In total, the album consists of 14 songs; I wrote 8 of them. There are 2 by Józwa Czyż, 3 French songs and 1 traditional Senegalese song – which Mamadou’s mother used to sing for him as a child and which my students loved.

Do you agree if I say it’s a children’s album, or is it too restrictive?

Probably too restrictive! I did not want it to be only for the children, but for everyone: for the students who learn French, for the teachers, because in the songs there is vocabulary, grammatical structures, verbs that can be worked on very well in the language lessons. But above all, I wanted it to be an album that people enjoy listening to, regardless of their age! And I have the impression that it is quite successful …

the earth »For example, a chorus – ecologically responsible, catchy, which has everything to please, even adults!

The song ” the earth is composed and written by Józwa Czyż, known under her stage name: Mintoft. I heard this song during his concert and fell in love with it. I asked Józwa if he would sing it with me on my record. There’s another song by him: The beaver and the foxes “.

Who are the singers who have also composed for children that inspire you?

I love the songs of Alain le Lait, we often sing them with the students, Anne Sylvestre, Henri Dés, Pierre Lozère.

Would you say that it is important to work with your voice, especially for a teacher whose vocal cords are used a lot?

The voice reflects who we are. Everything we feel, what we live in a given moment, we can hear in the voice if we are aware of it. It works with specific techniques such as breathing. For example, with my own voice, I am honestly impressed with the developments I have seen, thanks to the singing lessons I took and still take today with Chris Schittulli. Even in my daily life as a teacher it changed my life: before I always had a sore throat, even loss of voice, today it is a bad memory … It is crazy the psychological aspect voice!

I did not realize how much work awaited me when I started creating my album, but I now see that this project has changed me deeply, thanks to the fact that my voice has improved and that I am more conscious how to use it.

Do you have a show you would like to tour in Poland?

Yes ! I have already started with a small concert for the kindergarten La Fontaine. The La Fontaine Foundation helped me financially realize my dream and therefore I would like to thank it!

On June 4, I will have the pleasure of singing during the competition for the finalists of the Festival of French Poetry, Song and Theater organized by the Association of French Teachers Prof-Europe, and to tell the truth, this event is the beginning of a series of concerts , already scheduled for June. Concerts for children with ” Hedgehogs and butterflies »But also with a repertoire for adults with their own compositions and some covers.

Check out the album »hedgehogs and butterflies“by clicking here

To visit Kasia’s website Sokolowska it is here

Kasia Sokolowska album

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