Tamara Kalinowska

I was born in Bielsko-Biała, but when I was 5 years old, together with my parents and brother I moved to the countryside. From those days I remember my neighbour's house, her six children (half-orphans) and my Polish teacher in High School. And of course my friends from High School, who helped protect me during that time, as others thought I was different.

In fact, I lived a life of a village outcast. The amount of experiences and feelings related to that special status was overwhelming. In an emotional sphere, it made me completely vulnerable. I started doubting the return of good for evil, though I still live according to that principle.

I was different and that dissimilarity was exotic, it was my passport for the first camp-fire with my fellow students. When I brought my guitar along, the passport was extended. I felt accepted, needed. It seemed I was indispensable. I had friends that excused me and protected me.

I have dreamed about Cracow ever since. It was obvious, there was no need to speak it. Before coming to Cracow, I graduated the National University in Wierzchosławice as a dance instructor. I haven't danced since that time.

I was a first year student at the Jagiellonian University when I was invited to the cabaret. I won the Student Song Festival and I joined the team without any tests. I admired and appreciated the generosity of Piotr Skrzynecki, his intuition and trust in me. I remember him saying that one day I would "sing myself", that the time would come for me to sing about how I really feel. He convinced me that I just needed some time to do it, but it's definitely worth waiting. I was so scared, so afraid of everything - I did not understand. I didn't know what to expect, but I felt He was right.

"The Lunatic" and "Waltz" were the two songs I brought along with me to the cabaret. At first, I was screaming onstage rather then singing. However, I trusted that one day I would be able to sing. Zbigniew Preisner gave me some of his songs; "We Must Sow" ("Musimy siać") and "Don't Lose Hope" ("Miejcie nadzieję"). It was a real challenge for me to sing "Kisses" ("Pocałunki"), "Images" or Hemar's Christmas carol "It Was Snowing All Night" ("Całą noc padał śnieg") - beautiful, but difficult songs, because they were so lyrical!

When I gave birth to my son, I was sure about what I felt before: I have to write, I need to write. And so I wrote, but I shelved my poems and lyrics.

In the cabaret I have lived a few steps above the earth. My songs are not poetry - they're more like a confession. I felt I need to prove their credibility with my own life. Otherwise no one would believe me. I was afraid of the disapproval, especially when I had no protection any longer. But in the cabaret I met wonderful people, wise and caring, kind- hearted. It was an honor for me and a great privilege to be with them.

I sing about good and bad things that may happen to a person, who thinks with his or her heart. Thanks to the songs, I find people who think that way too. I had always believed there were many of them. I didn't even dare to think that so many.