1950 - 1968
On June 10, 1950 Anna Maria Szmeterling is born in Poznań. At the age of 4, she begins to take piano lessons and later as a student in a school of music she tours with Poznan’s Philharmonic Society. She perfected her musical skills with amateur band Szafiry created by Piotr Kuźniak. She begins cooperation with student theatre “Oktawa” and clubs “Nurt” and “Od Nowa” where she sings and accompanies.
“At the beginning I had different artistic plans. In my hometown of Poznań, I wanted to become a pianist. But with time, I have realized that having a career as a pianist is very difficult and physically demanding. You have to have a lot of strength and I wasn’t about to become Hercules. I have a small hand which can be an obstacle for a pianist. “
1969 – 1972
In January 1969, Anna Szmeterling takes part in Student Song and Singers Festival in Cracow and presents a song entitled “A lipiec grał“ written by Jacek Szczygieł and Tadeusz Kubiak and her own song with lyrics written by her brother Roman Szmeterling “W płaszczu z mżawki i zadumy”.
In the summer of the same year at the Fama Festival in Świnoujście, she receives special distinction for her interpretation of the song entitled “Łąka bez kwiatów” composed by Wanda Żukowska and written by Janina Willner. She starts cooperation with the band “Polne Kwiaty” and records the first radio single with them. Then she meets Jarosław Kukulski who hires her in his band Waganci. She records her first album with the band Waganci and a hit song “Co ja w Tobie widziałam.”
“I remembered the fact that when I went on my first tour in 1969 with the band Waganci, I was only 19 years old and my grandma always walked me to the tour bus. Out of concern, she asked one of the boys that was the most trustworthy to take care of me. It was Jarek. As it later turned out he took my grandma’s request very seriously and deeply to his heart.”
In April 1971, Anna married Jarosław Kukulski and having full certification from the Ministry of Arts and Culture of a professional singer, she decided to begin a solo career under the pseudonym Anna Jantar
1973 – 1975
With a hit song “Najtrudniejszy pierwszy krok” sung at the XI National Festival of Polish Song in Opole Anna Jantar launches her solo career. In 1974, she receives multiple awards and distinctions. At the International Song Festival “Slovenska Popevka” in Ljubljana she receives a special honor for the interpretation of a Yugoslavian song entitled “Czas jest złotem”. In Kołobrzeg at the VII FPŻ, she is the recipient of Polskie Nagrania award and receives the title of “Miss Obiektywu.” At the “Coupe d’ Europe” in Austria along with Marianna Wróblewska and Tadeusz Woźniak she receives 3rd team award in the performers category. Finally, in Castlebar, Ireland she wins the third place for the song “Tak wiele jest radości” at the IX “Cisco” International Song Contest. At the same time’ her song “ Tyle słońca w całym mieście” becomes the biggest hit in Poland and remains one of Anna Jatar’s biggest hits to date. In August 1975, at the International Sopot Festival there are many reasons to feel satisfied and proud.
“This was a real award sweeping year for me: II award of the jury at the Polish day festival for the song “Staruszek Świat”, People’s choice award for the best performances award “The voice of Wybrzeże” award. Sopot Song of the year award for the song” Tyle słońca w całym mieście”. I was supposed to receive photo reporters award, but that would have been too much."
In September, 1975, At the Pop Song Festival in Dresden Anna is the recipient of the II award for the song “Niech ziemia tonie w kwiatach “- ("Blumen sollen regnen auf die ganze Welt"). At the same time, her first long play entitled “Tyle słońca w całym mieście” is released and sold nationwide. All of this is happening as she begins preparations to record her second album” Za każdy uśmiech.”
1976 – 1979
On March 3rd,1976 Anna Jantar becomes a mother and names her daughter Natalia.
“Motherhood is something extraordinary. You have no idea how great it is to give birth to a child. It’s a miracle that changes everything. This little tiny screaming child is the most important and most adorable thing that can ever happen to you….”
After a short break Anna returns to the stage and at the International Sopot Song Festival she receives a gold record for the long play entitled “ Tyle słońca w całym mieście”. A year later in Television’s studio 2 she receives the same award for the album “Za każdy uśmiech”. In 1977, she records her third album entitled “Zawsze gdzieś czeka ktoś…” She changes her repertoire and sings more ambitious and challenging songs. With the song “Tylko mnie poproś do tańca” that she sang in January of 1969 at the OIRTV gala- Interstudio 78 in Tampere, Finland she proves that she has become a mature artist.
“This song was composed by Wanda Żukowska and lyrics were written by Bogdan Olewicz – it reminds me of a beautiful song performed by Ewa Demarczyk “Grande valse brillante". When I heard the music of this song, I was fascinated by it and asked Bogdan Olewicz to write the lyrics and he was able to capture the atmosphere of the song. As a result, very dramatic song was created which was completely different from the songs I have sang so far. It required a different interpretation on my part…”
In 1979, Anna starts to work with the bands Perfect and Budka Suflera. The first song recorded together with Budka Suflera entitled “ Nic nie może wiecznie trwać” is chosen as a song of the year in the radio contest by listeners of radio Gama. At the end of 1979, Anna goes on tour the USA.
In the winter of 1980, Anna tours Polish clubs in Chicago and New Jersey.
“I was delighted to accept another invitation to tour the United Sates which I got after my previous tour in in this amazing country. Touring the USA is tiring for me, but I feel special joy when I meet compatriots who come to see me perform. I get a lot of invitations for social and private functions, but unfortunately I have to decline due to lack of time. I have a lot of work both in Poland and on tour in the USA."
On one of her last concert in the USA, which was recorded by accident she said:
“Good evening everyone- I welcome all of you including the children that came here today. I welcome you, but at the same time I have to say that I am saying good bye as I will be singing for you for the last time. I will sing for you a few songs from my repertoire. There will be some old and new songs. There will also be brand new songs. I will start with a song that has a special meaning for me as it reminds me of the beginnings of my artistic career. A song with a beautiful title which can also be a recipe for happiness- “Żeby szcześliwm być.”
On March 14th, 1980 Anna Jantar dies in a plane crash in Warsaw
Translation: Agnieszka Jędrzejczyk