|Fourteen year old Amelie Gnatek, student of Cheltenham Girls’ High School, is an accomplished vocalist and pianist.Since 2009 she has been performing regularly both as a soloist and in ensembles, participating in concerts, Sydney Eisteddfods and music festivals. Amelie represented Sydney at the National Polish Arts Festival PolArt 2015 in Melbourne, performing in a vocal duo.
She is a winner of Ewa Malewicz Music Competition 2015. In 2016 Amelie was selected to perform as a soloist during the annual school presentation ceremony at the Sydney Opera House. She belongs to the Polish Folkloric Ensemble Lajkonik.
Puls Polonii: -What inspired your song "A Forgotten Hero"?
When I first heard about the competition, I wasn’t sure if I would enter it. I didn’t know much about Kościuszko and the topic was very foreign to me. The types of songs that I sing and write are about stuff that most teenagers are concerned about. However, after some discussions with my family and learning more about Kościuszko, I became more open to the idea. My family suggested that I look at some poems about Kościuszko to spark some inspiration....
... I had come across a very meaningful poem named ‘Kościuszko Spoke to me’. It talked about the Snowy Mountains region and the environmental issues so important and relevant to our generation. I spent a while working on some musical ideas based on that poem. I was happy with the song, however the subject didn’t reflect the theme of the competition. So I left the whole project for some time. Then a few months later, we found the poem ‘A Forgotten Hero’ and although at first it seemed ‘too patriotic’ for me, the opening phrase ‘Run little Polish boy, run in your field’ evoked images of polish landscapes that I could relate to.
PP: - How was the song created?
The original poem is longer and uses a lot of phrases that I found difficult to compose music to. I decided to change some of the text and rearrange the order of the verses to suit the verse chorus structure characteristic of a pop-ballad.
I wanted the song to recount Kościuszko’s story, each verse following his journey from a young boy running in the Polish fields to an old man dying after a lifelong struggle for freedom. So the song begins gently and gradually intensifies with the text, ending with the calmness and sense of completion.
... After writing the main melody, I tried to further illustrate the words with the piano accompaniment. For example in the phrase ‘fight now’ in the second verse, I used rapid semiquavers to depict the intensity of the lyrics. I also decided to add an instrumental section for the bridge to add a more ‘patriotic’ feel to the composition...
After creating the main skeleton of the song, I left it for some time as I was busy with school and other musical projects. It was not until about two weeks before the deadline that I returned to it and started working on it again. Luckily, I had the school holidays and could focus on finishing and recording the song. Recording sessions were fun. The song was recorded in our living room. My dad helped me and we worked together on firstly recording the piano part, then vocals and then the final mix. I really enjoyed that part of the project.
I’m glad I entered the competition. I hope that the song will shed light on who Kościuszko was and that my music will help broad audiences connect with it.
Amelie, a Member of Lajkonik Ensemble, reporting from Newcastle
Amelie reporting from Zalipie,a unique village in Poland
Amelia taking part in the Kosciuszko Gala Premiere in the NSW Parliament House
Amelie performing at a concert commemorating The Warsaw Uprising
Amelka w czasie gali z Prezeską Rady Naczelnej PA Małgorzatą Kwiatkowską. Foto Bogumiła Filip