Pchełki, photo: Paweł Kotas


BY Agnieszka Le Nart

‘We are here to grow and take pleasure in what we do because that’s what it’s all about – for us to be happy doing what we’re doing.’ – Pchełki

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Pchełki aka The Fleas (established ca. 2006) – rock band and hop-siup pioneers. This group of twenty-slash-thirtysomethings have created a musical genre of their very own, combining folk, post-rock and psychedelic pop with traces of trip hop, jazz and metal. Marta Rogalsdóttir and her brother Świstak (which can translate to either Groundhog or Whistler, depending on the dictionary) Rogalsson, have teamed up with Paweł Rychert and Damian Kowalski. In spite of the foreign-sounding names – creative twists on the blandly Polish last name of Rogalski – all four are homegrown Poles from Aleksandrów Kujawski in the Kuyavia region of Poland. Yet perhaps these names are the reason behind the band’s intensive following in Denmark. Or maybe it’s their music after all...


In this section we introduce Polish artists, places, and new phenomena. We always ask the person or the place’s representative the following question: WHY ARE YOU HERE? How they answer it is completely up to them. Time for Pchełki.

With Marta on vocals and transverse flute, Świstak on bass, Damian on drums and Paweł on keyboards, they’ve rocked the stage at major venues and festivals through Poland and a few places in Europe. They’ve won some decent awards along the way, including the Triton Prize at the FAMA Festival in 2008.

Pchełki are known above all as a concert band – a group that loves the energy of the live stage and delivers a raw, emotional sound. Pchełki are musical fleas, leaping across genres and styles to create an unexpected sound that is as familiar as folk, but with the blitz of rock. They call their style hop-siup, in other words, hippety-hop. A tinkling melody punctuated by the cherub-faced singer’s hauntingly raw vocals. Their sound varies from bopp-y to trance-y, with no real segues mid-stream, leaping from trip-hopping Wianki to the folk-laden ballad Uciekaj. It’s a brave, bold sort of music – and their fans admire them for it. And still they all manage to maintain quite a healthy perspective in the music game – speckling all their interviews with a heavy dose of irony and playfulness.


“We’re in an open relationship with Tymon Tymański’s Biodro Records. Let’s say it’s being friends with benefits.”

“Studio is arduous, open-air concerts equals man with bellies, not that I have a problem with those gentlemen. Open-air means more involvement, yet it usually shapes as a sausage-beer kind of a fest. I like playing in a club.”

“We chose our musical direction on our own. We’re genetically conditioned in a way that commands us to play hop-siup. We’re happy about this. Very much so.”

“Sometimes I happen to meet a person in a village, who says: You play like old Boston Klezmers!”

KEYWORDS: folk, fleas, hop-siup, hippety-hop, Aleksandrów Kujawski


To grow and take pleasure in what we do because that's what it's all about – for us to be happy doing what we're doing.