Mirosław 'Maken' Dzięciołowski was the initiator of reggae sound systems in Polish People's Republic. In 1988 in small town Zgorzelec in Western Poland, together with Mariusz Dziurawiec, he founded Joint Venture Sound System - the first sound system in Poland. In the beginning, he played music from cassettes with a usage of two tape recorders. Reggae was very popular in Poland in the 1980s, especially after the boom on this genre in 1983, but parties with this kind of music were rare because of the shortage of albums and cassettes. 'Maken' presented a broad selection of Jamaican music (reggae, dub, ska) but sometimes he played new wave and punk music too. He was also an author and editor of a few fanzines in that decade. One of them was 'QQRYQ' to which Dzięciołowski was a regular contributor.
The genres such as dub and reggae, in which Dzięciołowski had a special interest, were a part of the alternative music scene dominated by hardcore punk. Many bands tried to mix the reggae sound with punk intensity. In Zgorzelec Dzięciołowski was a manager and sometimes a vocalist of the group Bush Doctor founded in 1985, which mixed styles of punk, reggae, ska, dub, funk, and rap. Musicians of the group were inspired by the crossover music of Bad Brains and Chumbawamba. The affinity between punks and rastas in the 1980s in Poland was perceived as something obvious; young people who presented an alternative mindset sought to get together with other outsiders. This punky-reggae community was regarded as the cultural and spiritual revolt alternative to the political opposition and to all political issues.
After the transition to liberal democracy, Dzięciołowski became one of the most prominent people on Polish reggae scene. He worked as a DJ, manager, journalist, editor, radio, and TV presenter, collaborating with music magazines 'Brum' and 'Plastik', Polish Radio, TVP Kultura (public broadcaster's theme channel dedicated to arts and culture), and Ostróda Reggae Festival.
As a contributor to 'QQRYQ' Dzięciołowski created many graphics and comics illustrating the fanzine. He was also a correspondent of Piotr 'Pietia' Wierzbicki and his colleague. Works by Dzięciołowski were distinctive features of 'QQRYQ' due to their sense of humour and characteristic nonchalant style.
Dzięciołowski was invested more in alternative music scene than in oppositional or dissent activities. He perceived the reggae music an alternative to the political opposition. However, living in a small town he did not have so much freedom as the underground youth in cities like Warsaw, Gdańsk, or Wroclaw, because of the unusual or even shocking image of reggae musicians and fans. Despite his reserve to political issues, as an alternative culture activist and author of a couple of fanzines, Dzięciołowski was in Zgorzelec under investigation of the secret police. In the small towns, young outsiders had also bigger problems with the social control than in the big cities.
Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland
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- Zgorzelec, Poland
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- Stanczyk, Xawery