Sex, drugs and a sociology PhD


A former Lancaster University tutor is one half of Poland’s greatest up and coming music act, and will be performing at the Gregson Arts and Community Centre, Moor Lane, Lancaster in Week 25.

Paula Bialski is one half of Paula i Karol, described by The Guardian as “Poland’s new superheroes”. Bialski is currently studying in the Sociology department for her doctorate in the sociology of tourism and mobilities.

Paula i Karol formed in Warsaw in 2009 and are heavily influenced by artists such as The Smiths, Laura Marling and Bob Dylan. Bialski says that her time at university has influenced her passion to make music.

“The bands that I listened to in university in Canada like Arcade Fire when they were just starting out, or Owen Pallet, or other less known bands from Guelph [in Ontario] also inspired me to just go out there and play without really thinking about it. In university in Guelph people were just playing in their kitchens and in random second hand stores and old bars”, she said.

Bialski also spoke about how her time at Lancaster had inspired her, and had the result of the creation of Paula i Karol. “I was at a few house parties and started fooling around with some musicians, just singing and improvising. When I returned to Warsaw I just asked a few friends if anyone they knew was looking for a female vocalist. And a friend mentioned that Karol was looking”.

Rachel Black, a final year student from Furness College, had Bialski as her tutor. Black said: “I wasn’t surprised to find out that [Bialski] was in a band that is so successful in Poland. She always seemed to have a very exciting life and be on some kind of adventure.”

Black went on: “I’ve got lots of my friends together, and we’re all going to see her next week. I’m so excited!”

The group has taken the Polish music scene by storm, and has performed at every major music festival there and also supported Belle & Sebastian on the Polish leg of their tour.

The performance on May 23 will be one of the group’s first in the UK. Bialski hopes that they will be able to “capture the hearts of listeners in the UK” but accepts that this may be a harder job than in Poland. “It’s much harder here. Poland has a small history of making pop music, and things that are known as pop in Poland are quite commercial, even cheesy”, she said.

The performance on Monday, May 23 starts at 8pm. Tickets are £5.


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