Some weeks ago I was in Poland. For quite a while I have been reading about it and as my interest in the country kept growing, I decided to find an excuse to go there and see it for myself.
The excuse I chose was Kurna Chata's concert in Szczecin, which took place at the Ducal Palace on September 23rd, 2018.
If you do not know who Kurna Chata are, they are a band specialized in making ethno / folk music, sung in Polish. They play with traditional instruments such as the accordion, acoustic guitars, transverse flute, hurdy-gurdy, contrabass and many different types of percussion instruments. If that is not cool enough, their lyrics are taken from traditional polish folk songs
From the moment I discovered them, I became a fan and decided I had a moral obligation to help them spread their music. The world MUST know about Kurna Chata!
To my surprise, their music was not available online, yet. I somehow talked to the band into allowing me to carry their digital distribution to online music stores and digital platforms. This is how I got involved with them.
I arrived in Szczecin on Friday, two days before the concert, which gave me enough time to explore the city and learn a lot about their (tragic) history. On Saturday, I met two of the band members, the two that live in Szczecin: Maja and Aleksandra, and together, with other friends, went to a Food Truck Festival to eat something. What a cool way of meeting new people!
Sunday. The day of the show. It was a very cold and cloudy day.
The concert would take place outdoors; at the Ducal Castle.
The weather did not seem to have any bad influence on people, as the place was packed.
Everything was ready.
The time had come, and the band appeared on stage among the cheering from around 200 people. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon concert.
One of the two leading vocals, Kasia, began the show with an impressive a capella interpretation. The song is still unkown to me and I did not understand what she was singing, but the atmosphere and her voice made me shiver.
There is something mystical and overwhelming about listening to music you do not understand nor you know the lyrics to. It forces your mind to focus on the sounds without the distraction of feeling like you have to sing along.
The second song, if I remember correctly, was Gospodarzu, the song from the above video and also the very first one I heard. Here is when the full show began and I could feel the power and energy the band have on stage.
Something magical happens when you get to see a band who have been together for a long time. You can tell they understand each other and they know what they are doing. Pawel playing the guitar and the hurdy-gurdy, Jan on the accordion, the incredible Aleksandra and her ability to play percussions and Maciej dominating the contrabass.
All instruments playing and both vocalists, Maja and Kasia, with their distinct and unique voices combined, made for an unforgettable day. One sings and the other one complements the melodies, without hesitation. Song after song I felt myself fully immersed in the music. The only way I can describe it is to compare myself with those sailors being lured by the enchanting singings from sirens we all have heard about.
For over an hour, I was there, but at the same time I was not. My body was present, but my mind and heart had been hijacked. For over an hour I did not care about anything else. All I wanted was to hear more. I did not want the concert to end.
After they played what seemed to be their last song, and as a response to the chants of people asking for more, they played the one song that was missing. The song that I had had in my head for weeks and that I had been singing nonstop at home. They played the earworm: Rumba Demencja, and with that, the concert came to an end.
After the concert I met the rest of the band and we went together to have something to eat. It was a brief meeting, as they had a long drive home. I was able to share a few moments with them and tell them my impressions. I must confess I went full on groupie and told them how they were the best band ever. I was not lying, though.
On Monday it was time for me to come back to Germany. This is how my story about going to Poland to see Kurna Chata ends. A weekend full of history, experiences, memories, amazing music and incredible people.
Kurna Chata just released a new music video as part of their their 10th anniversary celebrations. So please show them some love and go watch their video.
Happy Birthday, Kurna Chata!
The original blog entry was posted on on my personal website on September 30th, 2018. You can find it here.