Polish Songs (sorted by genre + decade) [UPDATED 2021]

Polish Songs for Language Lovers

Polish songs are often stereotyped as either rural folk music or pure Disco Polo.

And while there’s nothing wrong with either of those genres (you’ll certainly find both on this list!), Polish artists have a lot more to offer than two relatively vintage genres of music.

The goal of this list of Polish songs is to help you build your own mixtape of contemporary songs you’ll love. You can listen to all the songs directly in the article and use the genre tags as your guide.

As a bonus, select Polish songs will also feature links to Spotify playlists that are inspired by that song. (So you can build your own mixtapes on any streaming service, or you can open the app and hit follow if you have a Spotify account.)

NOTE: The Polish songs on this list are organized by decade and tagged by genre.

If you only want a specific type of music (pop, rap, folk, etc), the most thorough way is to skim the article and look at the tags before looking at anything else.

Top Polish Songs in 2021

We haven’t gotten that far into 2021 yet, but here are the Polish songs you need to put on your next summer playlist.

Polish Song:  Doda :*

Artist: Bedoes & Lanek

Genre Tags: rap, trap, chill

We’ll start our list of Polish songs with Bedoes & Lanek: two of Poland’s growing SoundCloud rappers. Like most countries, Poland has a growing movement of independent music being made on platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud. Both came onto the scene after being signed by national rap labels in 2017, and like many Polish rappers have been investing a lot of creative resources collaborating with peers on hits like Doda :*

Polish Song: Uległa

Artist: Lil Masti (prod. Mike Johnson)

Genre Tags: pop, dance, chill

Lil Masti is an MMA fighter and of Poland’s social media stars who began collaborating with Poland’s hottest producers after hitting half a million followers on TikTok (a following that she’s since doubled). Her YouTube hosts vlogs, interviews, MMA fights, and music videos (which basically sums up her career).

This genre of chill, techno-y, hip-hop inspired dance has been my favorite thing to listen to the past few years. If you’re into it too, check out my 2021 Polski Chill Spotify playlist.

☝️ If you love a certain sound, I’ve added plenty of playlist recommendations throughout this article, so always pause to check them out!

Polish Song: Lodospady

Artist: Pawbeats ft. Michał Szczygieł

Genre Tags: pop-rock, indie, acoustic

Pawbeats is a Polish producer with a number of gold and platinum albums under his name from artists across a handful of genres. (For his best-known work, check out his numerous collabs with KęKę.)

Polish Song: Ale jazz!

Artist: sanah, ft. Vito Bambino

Genre Tags: pop

Sanah (styled in all lowercase) blew up in Polish pop music in 2020 after the debut of her single Szampan, which hit number one on the charts. Since then, Ale Jazz! is her fourth hit off the album--and her fourth #1 in just as many songs.

Polish Song: Polski Tango

Artist: Taco Hemingway

Genre Tags: rap

Taco Hemingway is one of Poland’s best-known rappers. As this is his second track on this list (the first was listed farther up as a feature with Yin Yang), it’s worth nothing Taco Hemingway has spent nearly 10 years of career making a name for himself because of his collaborations with other rappers--most notably Quebonafida (further down on this list), Otsochodzi, and Sokół. 

Polish Song: Gedz (P.A.F.F. Remix)

Artist:  Yin Yang ft. Taco Hemingway

Genre Tags: rap, techno, hip-hop

Polish Song:  Bratan

Artist: Malik Montana feat. Tovaritch (prod. FRNKIE)

Genre Tags: rap, mumble rap

The son of an Afghan father and Polish-Greek mother, Malik was raised in Germany where he came into German and English language rap early on in his career, only making music in Polish 10 years in. (For lovers of international music, many of his most recent songs contain a nice dollop of Afghani-inspired tracks and samples.)

Like harder-hitting rap like this? Check out my 2021 Polski Rap Spotify playlist, inspired by Malik Montana.

Polish Song: Jak Daleko

Artist: Ten Preston + Kartky  (prod. lil aloes)

Genre Tags: hip-hop

Kartky, one of the rappers associated with Taco Hemingway and the OU7SIDE channel, is one of the handful of Polish rappers to make it to the #1 position on main stream charts with his hit Dom na skraju niczego.

Polish Song:  Mirabelki

Artist: Lanberry

Genre Tags: pop, indie

Lanberry, the stage name of Polish artist Małgorzata Uściłowska, tried her hand as a contestant on both The Voice Poland and X-Factor Poland--and although she didn’t make it very far in either, she eventually entered Eurovision 2017  as Poland’s national competitor, placing 6th. With six gold singles in the past 5 years, she’s also one of Poland’s most well-known pop stars.

Polish Song: Chodź, chodź, chodź 

Artist: Rosalie ft. Jan-rapowanie

Genre Tags: pop, hip-hop, rap

Rosalie is one of the more popular Polish female hip-hop artists. Her English language single “A Thing Called Love” caught the attention of the press a number of years ago, although she hasn’t had the same commercial success as more tame pop stars.

Polish Song: To ja

Artist: Sobel

Genre Tags: rap, hip-hop

Polish Song:  Komary

Artist: Linia Nocna

Genre Tags: pop, chill-hop

Since the band’s 2018 debut album, Linia Nocna has been creating original electronic music drawing from influences like Mura Masa, Daab, and Elektryczne Gitary.

Polish Song: Kaonashi

Artist: Daria Zawiałow

Genre Tags: synth-pop, dance

One of Sony Music’s biggest-selling Polish Stars, Daria Zawiałow has had 4 #1 hits in since 2016 with her songs Jeszcze w zielone gramy, Szarówka, Gdybym miała serce, and most spectacularly for the Polish song Hej Hej! (which hit #1 on 5 different charts).

Polish Song:  AKWEN

Artist: Kizo (prod. Duit)

Genre Tags: rap, dance, hip-hop

Rapper Kizo, associated with the fantastic chillwagon label, began recording at the age of 15 back in 2009 as one of the artists importing trap into the Polish music genre. Despite rap and hip-hop still not finding the same commercial success in Poland as they have abroad, two of his albums (Pegaz and Posejdon) have hit #2 in Polish sales charts.

Like rap that makes you want to dance? Check out my 2021 Trap/Dance Spotify playlist, which has a ton of songs in this fun, hard mix of genres.

Polish Song: Kręgi / Joker

Artist: BISZ / KOSA (ft. Ńemy)

Genre Tags: rap, chill-hop

Bisz hasn’t had the same commercial success as other artists on this list, but deserves his place on this list. Kręgi / Joker is a remix of two of the artists’ other songs (Kręgi and Joker), and all three are an absolute pleasure to listen to for fans of hip hop and rap.

Polish Song: Tryb ON

Artist: KęKę (prod. Worek)

Genre Tags: rap, chill-hop

Kękę came onto the scene in 2013 and struck platinum not once but twice with his first two albums (Takie rzeczy, 2013; Nowe rzeczy, 2015). After starting his own lavel Takie Rzeczy Label in 2016, taking his next 3 albums platinum 2-3x each.

Polish Song: Zrób coś dla mnie

Artist: CAMASUTRA

Genre Tags: Disco Polo, pop, techno

Disco Polo isn’t dead! Fans of the ultra-catchy, ultra-dancey genre will be happy to see it live on in Camasutra, one of the top-selling contemporary musicians in the genre.

Polish Song: Powiedz

Artist: SMOLASTY feat. QRY

Genre Tags: hip-hop, chill-hop

Heavily inspired by the funk and hip-hop of the 60s and 70s, Smolasty (styled in all upper-case letters) has seen his first two albums hit gold on the charts, with a third set to debut later in 2021.

Polish Song: KOCHAM

Artist: CLEO

Genre Tags: Bubblegum pop

Cleo’s squeeky-clean pop sounds made their rounds on Polish X-Factor, the lesser-known Studio Garaż competition, Dancing with the Stars, and as the Polish contender for the 2014 EuroVision competition. This TV queen has been featured in Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, and World Cup commercials, most recently becoming one of the vocal coaches on Poland’s adaptation of The Voice Kids.

Polish Song: Tik Tok

Artist: CatchUp feat. Gedz

Genre Tags: rap, hip-hop

Polish Song: Bez Ciebie

Artist: Dawid Kwiatkowski

Genre Tags: pop-rock 

Dawid Kwiatkowski is Poland’s post-boy-band sensation, catapulting himself out of pop band Two of Us and establishing himself as not only a musician but TV personality. The 25-year-old was not only the winner of the MTV European Music Award for the best European performer but has a handful of other MTV, Nickelodeon, and chart position awards for his work over the past 10 years.

Polish Song: Cliché

Artist: Karolina Stanisławczyk

Genre Tags: Electronica, pop, dance

Cliché is the debut single from artist Karolina Stanisławczyk, drawing heavily on Poland’s iconic 80’s sounds (like aritsts Kombi, Bajm czy Izabela Trojanowska). While we don’t know much about this artist yet, her track is steadily hanging onto Polish pop charts and is worth throwing on your summer 2021 playlists.

Polish Song: JEDNA NOC

Artist: TEAM X

Genre Tags: dance, house, techno

2010s - 2020

The Polish songs on this part of the list were all released in the last 10 years--so if you’re new to Polish music, they still have a lot of the same sounds and rhythms we associate with newer music being released.

(And for some of these songs, their artists have a lot of even newer music being released. These are just classics we didn’t want to overlook by posting the artists’ more recent stuff!)

Polish Song: ONA BY TAK CHCIAŁA (Explicit)

Artist: Ronnie Ferrari

Genre Tags: Disco Polo, folk, dance, house

Year: 2019

Disco Polo is still a beloved genre in Poland, and its sounds are updating with the times. Here’s a massive Disco Polo Playlist which is updated regularly and has a lot of the past year’s biggest hits.

Polish Song: Dom

Artist: Bitamina

Genre Tags: indie, surf

Year: 2017

Polish Song:  Będzie lepiej

Artist:  MIYO ft. Tymek

Genre Tags: tropical chill, pop, rap

Year: 2019

Polish Song: hot coffee

Artist: restaurant posse / schafter

Genre Tags: chill-hop

Year: 2019

Polish Song:   California

Artist:  White 2115

Genre Tags: pop-rock

Year: 2018

Polish Song:  BUBBLETEA

Artist: Quebonafide feat. Daria Zawiałow

Genre Tags: hip-hop, rap

Year: 2020

Polish Song: Symetryczno-Liryczna

Artist: Enej

Genre Tags: Disco Polo, ska, folk rock

Year: 2013

Polish Song: Małomiasteczkowy

Artist: Dawid Podsiadlo

Genre Tags: rock, indie

Year: 2018

Polish Song:  Wakacje w Warszawie

Artist: Julia Pośnik

Genre Tags: pop, electronica

Year: 2020

Polish Song: Język Ciała

Artist: Tymek ft. Big Scythe (KLUBOWE) prod. C0PIK

Genre Tags: rap, house, trance, hip-hop

Year: 2018

Polish Song: Zachód

Artist: Wilhem

Genre Tags: dance, pop, electronica

Year: 2019

Polish Song:   Wiking

Artist: Sarius (prod. Gibbs)

Genre Tags: rap, rock

Year: 2018

Polish Song:  Idiotko Moja Artist: Adi Nowakv Genre Tags: Year:

Polish Song:  Billy Kid (prod. Kubi Producent)

Artist: ReTo (prod. Kubi Producent)

Genre Tags: rap, country western

Year: 2020

Polish Song:  Schodki

Artist: Mata

Genre Tags: classic hip-hop, rap

Year: 2019

Polish Song:  Nie muszę

Artist: Julia Wieniawa

Genre Tags: pop

Year: 2018

Polish Song:  Serce Baila

Artist: Margaret

Genre Tags: pop, dance

Year: 2019

Polish Song: Reksiu

Artist: Reksiu

Genre Tags: pop

Year: 2020

Polish Song:  Nie, nie

Artist: Otsochodzi

Genre Tags: rap, hip-hop, trap

Year: 2017

Polish Song:  Ramię W Ramię

Artist: Viki Gabor, Kayah

Genre Tags: pop, folk, Disco-Polo

Year: 2020

Polish Song:  Mademoiselle

Artist: BLACHA (prod. Raff J.R)

Genre Tags:

Year:

Polish Song:  @ (trailer)

Artist: chillwagon

Genre Tags: dance, rap

Year: 2019

Polish Song:  Eldorado

Artist: Deemz X Bedoes X PlanBe

Genre Tags: rap

Year: 2017

1990s - 2000s

If you’re here for some vintage hits, here are some nostalgia-inducing songs, artists, and genres from the turn of the millennium.

Polish Song: Fantasmagorie

Artist: Akurat

Genre Tags: rock, ska 

Years Active: 2001-2013

Did you go through a ska phase? So did Poland (and so did I). Akurat was one of the reigning bands of the moment, signing with Universal Records and putting out 5 well-selling albums (despite the short-lived mainstream popularity of the genre).

Polish Song: F*ck It

Artist: Doda

Genre Tags: pop, shock rock

Years Active: 2007-present

Doda is most infamously known for her legal “blasphemy charges”. During a 2010 TV interview, she believed more in dinosaurs than she did in the Bible because “it is hard to believe in something written by people who drank too much wine and smoked weed.” She was found guilty and fined 5,000 PLN.

Polish Song: Skłamałam

Artist: Edyta Bartosiewicz

Genre Tags: alt rock

Years Active: 1992-present

One of Poland’s most recognized singer-songwriters of all times, with 16 singles reaching top chart positions over the course of her almost-30-years of career.

Polish Song: W Głowie

Artist:  Ania Dabrowska

Genre Tags: pop

Years Active: 2004 -- present

Polish Song: Ja Sowa

Artist: Hey / Kasia Nosowska

Genre Tags: alt-rock, grunge

Years Active: 1991 -- 2016 (Kasia: 1989 -- present)

Hey was Poland’s biggest 90s rock band, but it’s worth noting that frontwoman Kasia Nosowska is the artist with the highest number of Fredryk Awards in all of Poland (one of the country’s highest musical achievements). She’s also one of the only musicians on this list to have toured in the US--no small feat for a Slavic musician.

Polish Song: Długość dźwięku samotności

Artist: Myslovitz

Genre Tags: indie rock, alt-rock

Years Active: 1992-2013

Polish Song: Bracka

Artist: Grzegorz Turnau

Genre Tags: soft rock, jazz

Years Active: 1991 -- 2010

While soft rock was enjoying its moment across the world (think: Celine Dion, Phil Collins), Grzegorz Turnau was winning award after award for his original “soft jazz” compositions.

Polish Song: Nie Wierzyć w Nic

Artist: Raz, Dwa, Trzy

Genre Tags: alt-rock, pop-rock

Years Active: 1999-2010

Polish Song: Všechno nebo nic

Artist: Ewa Farna

Genre Tags: pop, soft rock

Years Active: 2006 -- present

Yup, that’s a Czech title on this list. Ewa Farna is a Polish-Czech artist who produces music in both languages, and Všechno nebo nic was absolutely one of her biggest hits. The reason she’s included on this list of Polish songs is because, for fans of music reality TV, Ewa is a super popular judge on the Czech&Slovak SuperStar in 2013, the X Factor (Poland) in 2014, and is currently a judge on Idol (Poland).

Polish Song: Wierność jest nudna

Artist: Natalia Kukulska

Genre Tags: pop

Years Active: 1986 -- present

Natalia Kukulska is a Polish singer performing pop and R&B music, turning towards alternative electronica in the 2010s. She debuted as a child star in 1986, daughter of 1970’s Polish Pop Queen Anna Jantar (listed farther down on the list), and released her first “adult” solo album in 1996.

Polish Song: Tolerancja

Artist: Stanisław Soyka

Genre Tags: acoustic, folk-rock, soft rock

Years Active: 1986 -- present

Stanisław Soyka spent nearly a decade in the Polish and German music industries before the smash hit of Tolerancja in 1992. While the single’s album Neopositive didn’t itself have the same sales as one would have expected given the popularity of Tolerancja, anyone who likes soft, melodic music should check out his albums Sonety Shakespeare (1995) and Soyka Sings Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1998), which are composed of Shakespearan sonnets, translated into Polish, and set to calming music.

Polish Song: Makumba

Artist: Big Cyc

Genre Tags: Ska, rock

Years Active: 1988 -- present

Satylical political band Big Cyc rose to fame in the late 90s for their light-hearted but often incredibly political hits. From chaining themselves to radiators in the form of public protest to publishing post-Soviet images of Lenin in with a Mohawk, to publicly mooning then-Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek at a festival, they’re a band anyone tired of politics will probably relate to.

Polish Song: Swiat Sie Pomylil

Artist: Patrycja Markowska

Genre Tags: pop, soft rock

Years Active: 2001 -- 2013

Polish Song: Władza

Artist: Closterkeller

Genre Tags: alt-rock, metal, goth rock

Years Active: 1988 -- present

Closterkeller was a staple of late 90s / early 200s metal in Poland, with their 1996 album Scarlet even going gold in the country. Even after the set has mostly set on the genre, fans continue to buy their albums--with their 2017 release Viridian hitting #7 on national charts.

Polish Song: Niekochana

Artist: O.N.A.

Genre Tags: metal, alt-rock, goth rock

Years Active: 1994 -- 2003

O.N.A.’s first two albums, Modlishka and Bzzzzz, went gold and double platnum each, setting them up for a short but incredibly powerful career: 5 studio albums in 6 years, each one going gold or platnum.

Frontwoman Agnieszki Chylińskiej is also known as a somewhat controversial figure in Poland when, upon accepting the Fryderyk Award for Bzzzzz, she went on live TV to tell her former teachers to “Fuck off, nienawidzę was”.

The band eventually broke up siting “artistic differences”, so keep reading for some more of their projects.

Polish Song: Słodkiego miłego życia

Artist: Kombi / Kombii

Genre Tags: synth-pop, new wave, pop rock

Years Active: 1969 -- ?, 2003 -- ?

Before O.N.A. (mentioned above), members and high-school friends Grzegorz Skawiński and Waldemar Tkaczyk played together in Kombi: a fantastic 80’s synth-pop and new-wave project.

After O.N.A.’s fame and breakup (and clearly influenced by other things happening in early 2000’s rock) they formed a third band: Kombii (that is: Kombi 2).

Both bands are still technically active with overlapping members but incredibly distinct styles. The clip here is from Kombi (which should really be in the last section of this article), but make sure you check out Kombii if you want something a little more nostalgic from the 2010s.

Polish Song: Podejrzani zakochani

Artist: Halina Mlynkova

Genre Tags: pop rock, folk rock

Years Active: 1998 -- present

Polish Song: Spowiedz

Artist: Kasia Kowalska

Genre Tags: pop, alt-rock pop rock

Years Active: 1992 -- present

Poland’s 1996 Eurovision contestant Kasia Kowalska put out 4 gold, 3 platinum, and 2 double platinum albums at her height during 1994 -- 2010, and is one of Poland’s most recognizable artists of the last 3 decades.

Like the pop-y sounds from the 2000s? This official Spotify playlist for the biggest Polish hits of the 2000s is a great place to find even more artists like Kasia Kowalska.

Polish Song: Morky Pies

Artist: Kim Nowak

Genre Tags: indie rock

Years Active: 2010 -- 2013

Kim Nowak (named after the 1960s American actress, Kim Novak) was Universal Poland’s answer to the rise of bands like The Arctic Monkeys and Black Keys. Composed of two hip-hop artists, brothers Bartosz “Fisz” Waglewski, producer Piotr “Emade” Waglewski, their two albums didn’t do as well on the charts as one might assume compared to what Anglo bands were doing in other parts of the world (which probably explains why their career was so short-lived) but they’re a great band for fans of late-2010s indie rock to check out.

Polish Song: Zbyt wiele 

Artist: KaeN feat. Cheeba, WdoWA

Genre Tags: rap, pop

Years Active: 2000 -- present

Zbyt wiele was the biggest hit of early-2000s rapper KaeN. The genre hadn’t quite taken off in Poland yet, but his 2012 and 2014 freshman and sophomore albums reached gold and platinum each. (Truthfully, he could have been added up in one of the more recent sections of this list, since his 2021 album reached 5th on the charts the months it was released, but since his bigger commercial success was earlier on and he was one of the earlier rappers in Poland, here he is!)

Polish Song: Do kiedy jestem

Artist: Kasia Wilk

Genre Tags: pop, pop-rock, light rock

Years Active: 1997 -- present

 

Polish Song: Naucz Mnie

Artist: Sarsa

Genre Tags: pop, dance

Years Active: 2010-present

Like many of Poland’s 2000s music stars, Sarsa first broke into the music industry in 2011, while competing in the second season of Poland’s reality music competition Must Be the Music. While she didn’t get far, three years later she entered into the Polish version of The X Factor, and finally, in 2014, she participated in the fifth season of The Voice of Poland where she came in third place. She was eventually signed to Univeral Records Poland in 2015

Polish Song: Życie Jak Poemat

Artist: Szymon Wydra i Carpe Diem

Genre Tags: hard rock, 90s rock

Years Active: 1992 -- present

90s rock band Carpe Diem (and their even-more-famous frontman Szymon Wydra) was well known in music festivals of the era, their career peaked with the 2005 platinum album Bezczas, although like many bands from the era weren’t able to find the same commercial success with later releases.

1950s - 1980s

Finally, if your parents or grandparents left Poland some time ago (especially if you’re a heritage language user like me), here are some super nostalgic Polish songs that your family might recognize.

Polish Song: Biała flaga

Artist: Republika

Genre Tags: rock, new wave, 80s pop, punk

Years Active: 1983 -- 2002

One of Poland’s hottest 80s rock bands, the music of Republika (and frontman Grzegorz Ciechowski) has stood the test of time and aged incredibly well. The deseased Grzegorz Ciechowski is also one of the most-awarded musicians in Polish music history and worth checking out if you’re a fan of good rock.

Polish Song: NIE ŻAŁUJĘ

Artist: Edyta Geppert

Genre Tags: love ballads, “poetic song”, soft rock

Years Active: 1986 -- 2011

Edyta is most known for her “poetic songs”, set to a huge variety of genres (although most popularly, soft-rock that borders on la chanson française).

Polish Song: Kawiarenki

Artist: Irena Jarocka

Genre Tags: disco-pop, folk, 70s/80s

Years Active: 1968 -- 2012

Irena Jarokcka had one of the longest-spanning careers in Polish music, with albums released over the course of 5 decades--her last released just a few months before her death in 2012.

Polish Song: Kryzysowa Narzeczona

Artist: Lady Pank

Genre Tags: new wave, punk, rock

Years Active: 1983 -- 1991; 1994 -- 2011

Lady Pank was one of the first Polish bands to be played on the then-new MTV network with their 1986 hit Mniej niż zero.

Polish Song: Chcemy być sobą

Artist: Perfect

Genre Tags: rock

Years Active: 1977-1983; 1987, 1989-1922, 1993-2014

Perfect has been rebanded and recreated over their past 4 decades of career. Originally a political rock band creating American-influenced anti-communist music, the current members (who are totally different than the original lineup) have continued to make nostalgic-sounding albums that are reminiscent of their earlier hits.

Like the eclectic sounds from the 80s? This official Spotify playlist for the biggest Polish hits of the 80s is a great place to find even more bands like Perfect.

Polish Song:Ballada Wagonowa

Artist: Maryla Rodowicz

Genre Tags: folk rock

Years Active: 1968 -- present

Maryla Rodowicz was one of Poland’s earliest pop music stars with folksy, melodic rock hits in a number of languages and decades’ worth of prizes and platinum albums. Like many artists of those eras, her music often expressed anti-Communist ideology embedded in stories of everyday life or Catholocism.

Polish Song: Dni ktorych nie znamy

Artist: Marek Grechuta

Genre Tags: pop, classic rock

Years Active: 1967 -- 2003

Marek Grechuta was one of the biggest names in Polish music in the 1970s, putting out a whopping 6 studio albums during those 10 years and over a dozen more in the following decades. After his sudden death in 2003, several statues and plaques of the musician have been installed throughout Poland, with rumors that his likeness will be featured on Polish currency in the coming years.

Polish Song:  Baranek

Artist: Kult

Genre Tags: punk, psychedelic rock, ska, folk

Years Active: 1982 -- 2016

Kult formed as a punk band in 1982, pulling influence from another half-dozen genres. Unfortunately, the band’s first 1987 album was stopped from being released for over a year by the country’s censorship office. However, by the 90s, the band was freely allowed to to release anything they wanted too--and their 1993 record Tata Kazika went gold, marking a turning point in their career. From 1998 -- 2016 they had two more gold and three platnium albums, and have one of the most recognizable sounds in Polish music.

Polish Song: Cykady na cykladach

Artist:  Maanam

Genre Tags: punk, new wave, ska, post-punk

Years Active: 1976 -- 2007

Maanam (Tamil for respect or dignity) was a Polish rock band that reigned from the 80s through the mid-90s with their extremely contagious, dancey-but-simple songs.

All 3 decades of their career are worth exploring. In 1988, their single Sie ciemnia was the first Polish-language song to be featured on MTV; in the mid-90s they had two albums go 2x and 3x platinum; and in the early 2000s, they finally reached the #1 chart position with the album Znaki szczególne.

Polish Song: Tyle słońca w całym mieście

Artist: Anna Jantar

Genre Tags: 70s pop, folk

Years Active: 1968 -- 1980

Anna Jantar was one of Poland’s early pop stars, putting out 16 singles from her 4 albums during her decade-long career. In 1979, after performing a handful of shows in the US for her growing Polish-American fanbase abroad, she died in a plane crash during a failed landing attempt, leaving behind her only daughter, 4-year-old Natalia Kukulska. (Natalia launched her own pop career 6 years after her mother’s death as a child star, and is listed higher up on this list.)

Polish Song: Papierowy ksiezyc

Artist: Halina Frąckowiak

Genre Tags: pop, new wave

Years Active: 1963 -- 2005

Halina Frąckowiak spend the first decade of her career in the 1960s as a backup singer and festival competitor before finding solo success in 1972 with her album Idę. Finally in 1980 she put out her most well-known album, Ogród Luizy (Luisa’s Garden, a series of 20 love poems) based on the poetry of Kazimierz Wierzyński, including Papierowy Ksiezyc.

Polish Song: Tych lat nie odda nikt

Artist: Irena Santor

Genre Tags: Pop, rock, folk

Years Active: 1961 -- 2008

After the Second World War and due to her mother’s failing health, a young Irena Santor was sent by her father to full-time boarding schools in 1940s Poland. There, her teachers encouraged her to enter local singing competitions--which she did through the next decade, while taking professional singing lessons and continuing with her studies until her first studio album in 1961.

Since 2008 Santor has continued to put out compilations and remastered versions of previous hits, as well as put on legacy performances to let fans look back on her decades of successful career.

Polish Song: Płoną góry płoną lasy

Artist: Czerwone Gitary

Genre Tags: pop, folk, rock

Years Active: 1965 -- 1980

Czerwone Gitary (“Red Guitar”) may be the most iconic band of Polish music history. Contemporaries to the Beatles (and in the 60s, winning many of the same awards as them), Czerwone Gitary put out 10 fantastic studio albums full of experimental sounds and veiled politics in 15 years. For political safety reasons all members performed under pseudonyms, and by 1980 the band members left Poland to play their music on foreign stages outside of the Soviet Union, returning in 1991 after the installation of the new governemtn.

Polish Song: Chodź, pomaluj mój świat

Artist: 2 plus 1

Genre Tags: folk-rock, pop

Years Active: 1971–1992, 1998–1999

2 plus 1 (sometimes styled as Dwa Plus Jeden, 2+1, Gruppe 2+1, or Two Plus One) was a Polish folk-rock band who dominated the scene in the 70s before evolving to a more electronic and new wave style to suit the 80s. Their career was cut short with the unexpected death of guitarist Janusz Kruk, but in that time they were able to put out 10 studio albums, a live album, and a final remastered Greatest Hits--all of which feature a variety of sounds and distinct styles.

Polish Song: Prześliczna wiolonczelistka

Artist: Skaldowie

Genre Tags: folk-rock, pop

Years Active: 1965-1982, 1987-now

Skaldowie is likely the most celebrated Polish folk band, drawing heavily on the sounds and poetry of the Polish Tatras region. Unlike many other bands who have had careers spanning decades, the original line-up has stayed primarily intact over the past 7 decades and the group has continued to produce original music throughout their careers.

Polish Song: Jesteś Lekiem Na Cale Zło

Artist: Krystyna Prońko

Genre Tags: funk, soft rock, jazz

Years Active: 1969 -- 1990s

Krystyna Prońko is funk and jazz musician in a country where the genres remain popular with older generations. By the 90s however, she moved into a different sector of the music industry, founding her own record label Power Records and beginning to host music-oriented radio programs.

Polish Song: Chciałem być 

Artist: Krzysztof Krawczyk

Genre Tags: pop, soft rock

Years Active: 1963-2008

A single song by Polish musician Krzysztof Krawczyk doesn’t really sum up a musical career that consisted of pop, country, tango, dance, rhythm and blues, and disco polo hits. From 1968 until his retirement in 2008, he put out 6 studio albums with his band Trubadurzy and an unbelievable 73 solo albums (including compilations and live albums). During that time he maneuvered from “disco polo playboy” to a family-value-centered Catholic musician, so each era of his work is worth exploring by itself.

Polish Song: Jest taki samotny dom

Artist: Budka Suflera

Genre Tags: classic rock, stadium rock

Years Active: 1974 -- 2014

Budka Suflera is the only band on that list that, over 4 decades, had 36 Top 40 albums (including three #1 spots) and another 3 that landed Top 100. While it’s member lineups have changed dramatically during that time (with drummer Tomasz Zeliszewski as the only member to appear on all of their albums), they’re one of the highest-selling bands in all of Polish music history, and their members’ solo work or side projects have also been met with huge amounts of success (such as that of Felicjan Andrzejczak, the final entry on this list of Polish songs).

Polish Song: Jolka, Jolka pamiętasz…

Artist: Felicjan Andrzejczak

Genre Tags: soft rock, pop

Years Active: 1971 -- present

This 1982 hit is one of the most memorable Polish songs ever written and a great way to end our list. Finding it’s way onto the soundtracks of half-a-dozen movies and even more cover albums, it was by far the biggest hit of Felicjan Andrzejczak, former frontman of Budka Suflera.

Using Polish Music for Language Learning

I’ve been using music to learn languages for years--and, especially for slang and more modern expressions, it’s one of my favorite ways.

Here are the steps I recommend if you’re using Polish music in your language learning journey.

mini course image preview

First, grab your free language immersion course from Relearn A Language.

Each month has a different immersion tracker so you can use fun tools like music to systematically learn a language.

Then, you can repeat the rest of this tutorial every day in just 5min to dramatically improve your Polish vocabulary without any boring memorization.

First, look up the song name in quotes + the word “tekst” (for “lyrics”).

For a lot of songs, Google will automatically pull up the lyrics right on the search panel.

On the bottom, you’ll see an option to translate into your browser language (for me, Spanish; for you, maybe English).

Don’t click translate.

Google translate is handy for certain things, but for our purposes it’s the weakest translating option.

Instead, we’re going to head over to Reverso.net

(But keep this lyrics tab open!)

Make a list of all the most interesting words or phrases in the song. I did mine on a spread sheet since it was simple enough to copy-and-paste, but you can do it however you want.

Because we’re working with Polish, if a word is in a case you’ll want to grab whatever the case trigger was. (In this example, the word “od” as well as “nieocenzurowanych”.)

If you’re new to Polish and not sure whether or not a word is in a case, don’t worry--just grabbing stand-alone words is still helpful for our exercise.

What’s great about Reverso is that you’re going to be given multiple meanings for words that have them--perfect for songs where writers might be using multiple meanings in the same place.

Log the translations with the word list however you want.

You can use your final wordlist however--as long as you familiarize yourself with the words.

(I personally throw them into a flashcard deck like Anki or Quizlet for about a week, then delete it. Of course, paper flashcards are also fine, and writing prompts are also a great way!)

The important thing is that as you’re listening to Polish songs during your normal day, you’ll have created effortless flashcards for yourself!

(Plus--you’ll never get caught unprepared at karaoke not knowing the lyrics!)

Polish Songs for Language Lovers

Want to recommend us other Polish songs? Let us know in the comments!

Multilingual Marissa

I'm Marissa, and not only did I fail out of high school Spanish, but I also managed to forget my native language (Polish) in the process. After 10 years of establishing my career in the arts I decided to give language learning one last chance, and many years (and languages) later, I now help others online learn or relearn languages. I now speak English, Spanish, French, Catalan, Portuguese and am relearning Polish, my heritage language. I've also studied Italian, German, and other languages to low- or intermediate-levels for fun. If you want to relearn a language, I'd love to help!

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