Not only did she sing on the soundtrack, but she also made an appearance in one of the episodes. The recording took place in Dublin two years ago. The information must have been kept secret till now for fear of spoilers for the show, which is one of the most viewed productions worldwide.
AMJ, teamed up with Song of the Goat Theatre, improvises on a melody that was written specifically for the series by composer Maciej Rychły, with Gaelic lyrics by Alicja Bral. Anna is accompanied by Rychły on sierszeńki (a type of bagpipes) and the theatre’s songster Łukasz Wójcik, under the directorial tutelage of Grzegorz Bral. The audio recording was captured by Tadeusz Mieczkowski at S4 Studio in Warsaw. The video footage was recorded at film studios in Dublin.
“Nothing in my life ever happens by accident,” says AMJ. “In 2014, enthralled by the international Song of the Goat theatre formation, I asked its creator Grzegorz Bral if I could join his crew for a workshop. Consequently, I was drafted for half a year’s worth of rehearsals and a month’s worth of a very intensive work at Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. An amazing time in my life, a time of coming back to white singing and living in a commune (we were living and working together all the time). It was there, at Fringe, where the ‘Return to the Voice’ oratory, with Maciej Rychły’s fantastic music, was recorded by BBC— and it was specifically that recording that, unexpectedly, after two years, caught the eye the creators of ‘Vikings’,” adds Anna.
AMJ reported to the team work because it has always piqued her artistic interest. Her solo performances limited to two songs, where she could wholly demonstrate her style of singing, which is based on the ultimate freedom of improvisation.
“The news of the invitation to make an appearance in the show found me far away from the memories of my collaboration with SotGT. Apparently, Michael Hirst, the originator of ‘Vikings,’ saw the documentary about us that BBC made at Fringe. It happened two, maybe even three years after Edinburgh. I was just finishing studio work on “Ulotne,” my album with Branford Marsalis. Shortly after, I got on the plane to Dublin and made my way to the film shoot with Maciek Rychły and Grzegorz Bral. It brought back the memories of Fringe in Edinburgh and half a year’s worth of rehearsals in Wrocław. What an intensive and fascinating chapter in my life, it was. Grzegorz is a charismatic creator, he had a crew of versatile artists—songsters, yogis, acrobats, dancers, and actors at the same time. Never before had I met more talented and universal artists. Every day I learned from, and got delighted by, them. Maciej Rychły wrote poignant songs for 12 songsters. We played ‘Return to the Voice’ at a cathedral in Edinburgh for a month, virtually night by night. I had never worked that intensely, I would never have thought I could have such a cast-iron larynx and strong psyche—because it was really powerful stuff, that play. After a month of such work, I realized my true strength,” recalls Ania.
“To the news of ‘Vikings,’ I reacted enthusiastically, but I react enthusiastically to most of the invitations. I didn’t know this show because I don’t have a TV. It was only after my colleagues from the States told me they watched this series (we were just recording ‘Ulotne’) that I realized it must have been big stuff. The film shoot at gigantic halls in Dublin had stunned me.
I had never seen such a huge and masterminded production. A hundred people whipping around like a house on fire and twenty or so cameras working imperceptibly. And that production cycle!! The recording took place two years ago, and we already knew we appear in an episode which will be aired in December 2019. It had felt so abstract back then. As we’re talking today, I’m on tour at the Blue Note clubs in Asia,” ends AMJ.
AMJ is currently on tour in Japan and China. Next spring, she embarks on another tour with her premiere project “The Expanses.”