“I’d like to travel the world, and South Africa is the perfect place to start”
By Louw Mulder
Sometimes, when you get to experience pure talent reimagined, then brought to life by an artist of a young age, there are simply no words to describe the majestic sense of wonder. This was the case when Marcin Patrzalek gave me a personal one-on-one demonstration of only a few minutes of what he is capable off. I was given the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with this 18-year old Polish Guitar Pioneer.
It all started at the age of 10, as he said, by complete accident. “I had nothing to do during the summertime where I live in Kielce and my dad wanted me to have some sort of activity,” Marcin said. After being rejected for Guitar lessons, due to the fact that the guitar teacher they approached denied teaching children, Marcin was referred to another teacher, from whom he then started learning Classical Music. His real talent, it can be said, became visible already at this young age, as only after three months taking up this six-string instrument, Marcin won his first local talent competition in Poland.
Building on this newly proven talent, Marcin started progressing, and then got to meet Carlos Piñana, a Flamenco guitarist from Spain, who proposed to help Marcin with some classes through Skype, introducing, and opening many doors for this youngster, with the Flamenco style of Guitar playing, until he received an Acoustic Guitar for Christmas. Friendly, and very clever with his English, he told: “I had no teacher, so I started to experiment and create my own ideas and techniques. I would look at the internet and combine really different contrasting ideas myself.
What was born out of these self-taught experiments, were what he calls a really cool style, now gaining more and more popularity worldwide, called the Percussive Finger Style. “It’s so new, and fresh that it differs a lot – Everybody plays it differently, as everybody has their own experiments.” Marcin told me.
At 14, and only for fun, Marcin entered the Polish Talent-show for musicians, Must be Music. “This was a huge deal for me, as I didn’t go there to win, I just went there as I like playing on stage, showing my talent and skills to people,” he said. But then his big break, when started to gain popularity by winning this competition: “Winning motivated me. I started to release videos, and then my first Album called Hush, when I was 15.”
With the release of new arrangements and videos on-line, Marcin started to gain more and more popularity on the internet. “I decided to arrange Beethoven’s 5th symphony for myself, with another Talent competition in mind,” he told me: “I went to Italy to enter Tu Si Que Vales 2018, same as Italy’s Got Talent, and I also managed to win that, which was a huge surprise for me.”
It was after making this mark of his on the bigger International Talent Arena, that his travelling outside of Europe then started, with a successful tour to Mexico. “My style is so new and interesting, visually, that where I go and play, people have so many cool things to say,” Marcin shared with all his excitement evident in his eyes and his smile: “I want to travel as much as I can, and South Africa is a perfect place to start.”
Seeing the world as part of his traveling, is not his main priority, but sharing his talent with the world. Audiences worldwide have seen the Marcin Magic online, and would now want to see this visual style for themselves. “With Beethoven 5th Symphony, you can clearly see how the guitar is used in a really weird and percussive way, like the scratching, the tapping, playing with one hand, which is a weird thing for people to see,” he teased: “When I travel, I hear many different opinions, and the one I am most happy about, is when people say they’ve never seen something like this before.”
It was then time for Marcin to show me his guitar. “My first guitar broke due to wear and tear after quite a long time. Ibanez Guitars also saw my arrangement on line, and they endorsed me, and now I am an official endorser of Ibanez Guitars, which means it doesn’t really matters if my style breaks another guitar…” he brags, laughs, and then put his own over his shoulder.
Marcin is playing on a somewhat modified Acoustic Guitar. A normal acoustic guitar does the job, and he can play it in his style perfectly, but he admits that most of his sounds go missing because the Acoustic guitar cannot amplify all the sounds effectively. “There is a very detailed electronic equipment inside my guitar,” as he points and showed me his secret: “So when you scratch, and when you play and when you do all these sorts of weird percussion elements, you can hear it very clearly.”
Understanding what he meant, I asked him if he ever thought of designing his own guitar, especially aimed at the vision he has for the Percussive Finger Style: “I am,” he laughed: “I can’t give too much detail as the work is still confidential, but it is in progress. It’s a completely different world, because when I take the sheet music for a full symphony like Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, or Metallica’s Masters of Puppets, I want to compress everything into one instrument, so it is important to get a huge amount of different sounds from one guitar, and that’s why we are modifying the guitar to suit this style even more.”
At this point, with his instrument over his shoulder, I noticed that Marcin was done talking, and that he would just want to play, showing off his talent that burst naturally out of his passion for what he does. If I could comment, I would say, Marcin Patrzalek can easily be compared to a modern day Mozart, and other world famous composers, who did not let young age defeat their need to create new sounds, melodies, and Music.
With performances in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africans can now experience this magical talent live, in an intimate setting during the SA tour of Guitar Wizards. During this tour, Marcin will be sharing the stage with South Africa’s award winning Guitar Duo, CH2, who brags with their own International acclaim. For Marcin, this is an honor to play with them: ”It will be a mutual sort of teaching experience because they have a different style than I do, and I have a different style than they do,” he said: “During our show, you will hear some similar dynamic vibes. It’s a nice contrast that makes the show interesting.”
Marcin, in a very exciting tone, gave me some secrets and spoilers for the SA tour of Guitar Wizards: “I will be playing some pieces with CH2 during our huge finale. I am even playing some South African tunes with them, so the finale will have some fireworks.”