The Yiddish word KROKE means "Cracow". The group Kroke is strongly linked to Kazimierz, a Jewish settlement that had been an autonomous Jewish town up to the 19th century and then became the Jewish neighbourhood of Cracow. Until 1939 Cracow and especially Kazimierz was one of the most important centres of Jewish cultural life in Europe.
KROKE was created in 1992 in Cracow on the initiative of three lifelong friends and graduates of the Cracow Academy of Music: Tomasz Lato, Tomasz Kukurba and Jerzy Bawol. Having gone through the successive phases of education in classical music, and then fascination with jazz and progressive music, as Kroke they concentrate on playing and composing with the realm of authentic Jewish music. Each member of Kroke is equally strongly engaged in the creative process of the group.
Though the label "Klezmer" may indicate a certain direction, the music of Kroke is not necessarily linked to any of the styles nowadays connected with this concept. Using traditional material as the foundations on which to build ingenuous arrangements and improvisations, exploiting their previous experience, transmitting the profundity of man's feelings and nature, Kroke creates new, unique compositions as well as a sound which is thus far unheard in Jewish music.
The release of a first cassette entitled KROKE in 1993 led to numerous invitations to festivals and concerts all over Europe. Beside their regular concerts in Cracow the group started to tour extensively. Among many other successful concerts there were highlights like the E.B.U. Contemporary Folk Festival (Roskilde/Denmark) in June '96 and the WOMAD Festival (Reading/U.K.) in July '97. At the same time the group intensified their work on the improvement of their technique and investigated the tradition and philosophy of the Jewish nation.
The mystical atmosphere of Kazimierz, the unshaken dignity of its six-hundred-year-old tradition, reflection on the sufferings of the past, on the present, on hope and trust in man, as well as common creative work found their outcome in the album entitled TRIO (Oriente RIENCD04), which was released 1996 in Berlin/Germany.
Since then KROKE toured all Europe and released eight albums with ORIENTE Musik.
Trio (1996), RIENCD04
Eden (1997), RIENCD09
Live At The Pit (1998), RIENCD19
The Sounds of the Vanishing World (1999), RIENCD24
awarded with the German Record Critics' Award 2000
Time (2001), RIENCD601 (CD-Single, deleted)
ten pieces to save the world (2003), RIENCD45
Quartet - Live at home (2004), RIENCD48
Seventh Trip (2007), RIENCD63
Out Of Sight (2009), RIENCD74
Spiewam Zycie - I Sing Life (2007), RIENCD61