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Anna Szałapak was born on the last summer day in Cracow. Being a Zodiac Virgo under the immense influence of Libra, she was brought up in a family with Cracow-oriented traditions. Having grown up in the centre of Krowodra, she has always had plenty of respect for her roots and tradition. Hence she chose ethnography as a field of study at the Jagiellonian University.

As soon as she encountered the university folk group Słowianki, she decided to dance with them, not sing, as she was not fond of choir singing. She danced throughout the whole period of studying, being particularly keen on dancing to the South-Slovian rhythms.

She also took to singing and began to play the guitar so that she could provide guitar accompaniment. She sang at home for herself and her friends. At the same time she became fascinated by a black-skinned singer called Nadia Catouse, who lived in London, as well as by Bułat Okudżawa.

In 1979 she demonstrated her skills as a vocalist in public. Accompanied by her Slowianka female colleague she appeared in Piwnica Pod Baranami /in a literal translation A cellar under the Lambs/ in Andrzej Maj's director's diploma performance. That resulted in a series of recitals which she was giving till Piotr Skrzynecki's death in 1997. Every Saturday she regularly sang there songs by Krzysztof Rychlik, Zbigniew Preisner, Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz, Zbigniew Raj and the greatest Piwnica composer Zygmunt Konieczny.

Nearly at the same time she started to work in the urban folklore an tradition section of the Historical Museum in Cracow, where she has been working as the curator for a long time. Besides being on charge of the annual Cracow Christmas crib contest, she also supervises the post-contest exhibitions of these exceptional works of art.

She is also known for her car of a hobby-horse known as Lajkonik which walks round Cracow once a year, on the first Thursday after Corpus Christi.

Both in Poland and abroad she appears in her own music performances, including What the world consist of, Carols with the Cracow Christmas crib in the backround,Water of life where she presents songs by the most important Polish poets and composers, e.g. Agnieszka Osiecka, Ewa Lipska, Czesław Miłosz, Zygmunt Konieczy, Andrzej Zarycki, Zbigniew Preisner, Jan Kanty Pawluskiewicz. Her latest record which includes Ewa Lipska poems and music written by Andrzej Zarycki, Andrzej Sikorowski and Seweryn Krajewski is called Hearts on bikes.

  © 2004 Anna Szałapak. All rights reserved. webdesign Maciej Rzeźnik