Polish jazz singer Urszula Dudziak has been chosen as a UNESCO Artist for Peace on account of her efforts to promote women’s rights and cultural diversity. A letter from UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova was presented to the artist by Deputy Foreign Minister Artur Nowak-Far over the weekend.

”This beautiful award perfectly corresponds with the idea that peace and reconciliation need to be built from scratch, which is so close to my heart,” Dudziak said. “It will motivate me to continue my mission and spread the message that the power of life is crucial to all of us, at every stage and every moment of our lives.”

Urszula Dudziak is a leading figure of the Polish vocal jazz scene. In 1972 her album Newborn Light received maximum score of five stars in the prestigious AmericanDown Beat magazine. In 1979 her solo performances with use of electronic devices earned her the title of the singer of 1979 year in the Los Angeles Times. Her song Papaya (first recorded in 1976) became a smash hit in 2007 in Asia and Latin America.

She made her professional debut in 1958 and then she was invited to join Krzysztof Komeda’s band. In 1964 she started her collaboration with Michał Urbaniak Band and performed with them at some prestigious festivals. Initially, Dudziak performed acoustic jazz and then she became fascinated with music that used voice converters.
From 1981 she worked with the international group Vocal Summit (guests: Bobby McFerrin, Jeanne Lee). She performed and recorded with Gil Evans Orchestra and Archie Shepp Band. With her original program Future Talk prepared with writer Jerzy Kosińskishe performed in almost all countries of Europe, North and South America and in Asia.

Throughout her career she has also cooperated with artists like Adam Makowicz, Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Ron Carter, Michael Brecker, Flora Purim, Nina Simone, Carmen McRae, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sting or Lionel Hampton.

[Sources: thenews.pl, culture.pl, urszuladudziak.pl]