From Remixing to Full Philharmonic Halls
Written by Unity Line   

Appreciated by Beyonce and Nicki Minaj. Together with Miuosh and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, he gave a concert that 120 thousand people wanted to watch live. He flew to Kenia to work on his Hip-Hop History together with children from the Ghetto Classics orchestra. Radzimir Dębski, a Polish composer, producer, and conductor also known as Jimek proves that music knows no boundaries with each of his projects.

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A call from Beyonce

It was the dead of the night in a Berlin hotel when Radzimir Dębski picked a phone call from the manager of Beyoncé Knowles, one of the biggest icons of the modern pop music. In a moment, he was talking to the celebrity herself who congratulated him on winning a contest for a remix of her hit, End of Time. He beat 3000 competitors from 25 countries. The jury consisted of Beyoncé, Isabella Summers from Florence & The Machine, a Dutch producer Afrojack, a composer and Oscar winner Giorgio Moroder, and others. The winning piece was included in the extended play 4:THE REMIX distributed digitally over the whole world.

At that time, Jimek was 25. For many people, it was the first time they have heard about him despite the fact that he had co-written soundtrack for a popular Polish TV series, The Ranch. The other composer was his father, Krzesimir Dębski and the most popular song on the soundtrack was sung by his mother, Anna Jurksztowicz. Winning the contest was certainly a pivot point for him and let him out from under his parents' shadow.

The Szczecin prologue

‘Look what's going on in Poland. It's my #1 place on Earth. This is the new Philharmonic Hall in Szczecin’ wrote Radzimir Dębski on his Facebook profile when he learnt that he would give two concerts for the opening of the new building. The invitation was not an accident. He lives in Warsaw but comes from Szczecin and he admitted in an interview for szczecin.naszemiasto.pl: ‘I spent only my first seven years here but I will always be fond of the place. I learnt to walk, play ball, and ride a bike in the Kasprowicz Park. I remember the numerous returns home with knees all scratched. Szczecin for me is the magic carefree days of childhood. (…) My quiet dream is to return to Szczecin one day. I love the area around the Głębokie lake. When I'm old, I want to have a grey, crude house with a studio in the basement near the lake.’

Intense emotions related to the concerts led to a video clip for Prologue. It is a beautiful presentation of Szczecin. ‘After what happened during the two symphonic concerts for the Philharmonic Hall inauguration ceremony, we decided something else had to be done. We opened the door and invited everyone in right off the street; those who did not manage to come to the concerts and those who had never thought of coming to a philharmonic hall. No tickets, seats, chairs, or strings attached,’ reads a short note below the clip on YouTube. The video has been displayed over 800 thousand times.

 

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Hip-hop orchestra

Jimek entered the minds of hip-hop fans when he produced a piece for Pezet, one of the most famous polish rappers. But the real revolution was his work with Miuosh from Katowice and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Radzimir Dębski arranged rapper's music so that rap could be translated into a symphonic experience. The first two concerts in March 2015 were very popular. The audience reached over 3000 people. The events were crowned with a surprise from Jimek, an instrumental medley of the most important hip-hop songs in the history performed by members of the orchestra. When a video was published on YouTube, it was appreciated in social media by such legendary rappers as M.O.P, Prodigy, Pharoahe Monch, Nicki Minaj, and actor Ashton Kutcher.

In June, a double CD/DVD album was released with the events only to be awarded a Gold Record certificate in mid-August. It was planned to be officially presented during the next event in the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Hall in Katowice. Unfortunately, servers used for selling the tickets went down due to the sheer number of site visits. ‘We have info that 120 thousand computers tried to buy 1700 tickets,’ shared Miuosh on his Facebook profile. A second concert was organised ad hoc with tickets available only in ticket boxes. The first fans lined up in the night before the sale. Those who were late were not served.

Concert in Africa

After his success in Poland, Jimek undertook a similar project with a German rapper MoTrip. But it was not the end of his adventure with the hip-hop symphony orchestra. He wrote the next chapter in Nairobi witch children from the Ghetto Classics orchestra: ‘My friend, Krzysiek sent me a video of children tuning classical instruments before an orchestra rehearsal on a burning dump site somewhere in the world. He said, “man, you gotta come here”. So I went. To show hip-hop style to the kids.’

The workshop finale was a concert on 13 July 2017 in Oshwal Auditorium. The audience consisted of over 450 guests such as young people from other schools, families and friends of the musicians, and representatives of embassies or NGOs. The admission was free and the charity fundraising brought some resources to the Art of Music Foundation.

Apparently, Jimek is willing to breach musical barriers. The grand scale and diversity of his projects let us believe he will surprise many listeners more than once. We can't wait for more.