I discovered Basia Bulat’s music very accidentally, while scanning the internet for new music, years ago, shortly before her debut album Oh, My Darling came out. I liked her quiet, earnest way of singing and the balanced sadness versus happiness on that record; but what really caught my ear back then were the wonderful arrangements on Snakes and Ladders. I listened to that song on repeat for months, with the hectic crescendos of strings tingling my ears as I walked through a cold city. To me, Basia will always be that: warmth, winter, snow angels, bright blues in the sky, blankets, long nights, walks along the woods by myself. Fast forward to 2010, and here she is, finally, for the first time in Vienna, looking radiant and sweet. I, for my part, am slightly disappointed because of the venue, which always seems too formal to me, and though the room is tiny and the stage is really low, I always feel there is a certain distance between the musician and the audience. My fears volatilise with Basia’s instant friendliness. I stop breathing as she comes on stage, and throughout some parts of her set, I just stand mesmerized, trying not to make a sound, completely lost in the simplicity of her being. She starts off with, I am sorry to say, my least favorite song from her new record Heart of my Own – an a cappella number titled Hush. I still don’t particularly like the song – but it's breath-taking, and she masters her voice unlike few folk, singer-songwriters her age.
Switching between songs from her first two albums, cover songs such as Daniel Johnston's True Love Will Find You In The End, and a folk song sung in Polish, alone on stage alternating piano, autoharp, ukulele and a brand new brand old guitar, she is closer to her audience than many, seeming genuinely surprised that even as her set is over and she heads off waving goodbye, the public won't let her go, and wants more of this Bird of Paradise.