Graham Clark, Music Features Writer

Basia - No Longer Miles Away

Photo: Graham Clark
Photo: Graham Clark
For someone who dislikes the cold, dark and grey bitterness of winter, there must be a very good reason to make a special journey half way across Europe to arrive in a country that is even colder than back home.

That reason is Basia and the country is Poland.

Her brand of music - a heady mixture of soulful pop mixed with a slice of jazz conjures up thoughts of warm, balmy summer days spent under a hot Mediterranean sun, nights sat sharing a bottle of fine wine whilst watching the sun set over a calm sea. Quite a contrast to the biting north wind blows in snow showers.

The Polish singer became famous in the eighties as part of Matt Bianco leaving the British band for a successful international solo career, notably in America.

Taking a lengthy hiatus - for personal reasons - her recording and touring appearances became almost non existent though when the singer announced a short set of live dates in her home country, her fans relished the prospect of being able to witness Basia in concert again.

As she stepped on to the stage at Gdańsk’s Stary Manez her emotional vocal on No Heartache, a track off her last album Butterflies, was sung with the soulfulness of Aretha Franklin and the sweetness of Astrud Gilberto, taking her audience on a journey through her lengthy career.

Third Time Lucky could have applied to the times her Polish concerts had been postponed- they were originally scheduled to take place last May.

Drunk on Love sounded as intoxicating as ever aided by her pre-recorded backing vocals whilst Miles Away, a tender ballad in the mould of a Burt Bacharach classic pulled at the heartstrings sounding as timeless as ever.

Half A Minute stood out as the Bossa Nova groove shone as brightly as ever.

The audience reaction was to greet Basia like an old friend - she seemed genuinely pleased to be back on stage.

As Copernicus closed the night, the lyric of London, Warsaw or New York could only come true for her worldwide horde of fans- she had played Warsaw on this tour. After her assured and commanding performance tonight surely concerts in London and New York await.

If tonight had been a pre run of bigger things to come then Basia had passed with flying colours.

An accomplished return that had been worth the wait - and the long journey.