Coffee, jasmine and Southern warmth! Maria Helena’s new track Balkan Night is out now!

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‘Balkan Night’ is a thrilling journey through the warm Balkans. The song is the fourth single from Maria Helena’s debut album, ‘Planes’.

The independent Maria Helena project (that is, vocalist Maria Helena Żukowska and guitarist Wojciech Beszłej), shares the album version of the song ‘Balkan Night’, now with an atmospheric music video. It’s an energetic, indie-rock tune, inspired by travels through the Balkan peninsula. The video will be out on 21st January 2022.

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‘Balkan Night’ music video.

‘I think all of us have once felt that crazy, irresistible need to get into a car, or on a train, and just go’, explains Maria, Polish-born but Leeds-based. ‘‘Balkan Night’ was born out of trips across the Balkans, backpacking without a fixed destination, and out of fleeting encounters along the way. In the song, we try to capture the Southern wind, and scents of coffee and jasmine.’

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‘Balkan Night’ music video.

The single is accompanied by an atmospheric video. ‘We wanted to recreate the mood of a road trip on a warm night, in which the beauty of Balkan landscapes paints an intriguing background, despite our main character’s dilemmas’, highlights Wojciech, who is also the project’s co-writer and producer.

A picture containing text  Description automatically generatedTo the duo’s surprise, the song received praise and airplay already in its demo version. It was played widely across radio stations in Poland (becoming ‘Song of the Day’ at the acclaimed Polish Radio Three in 2019), as well as on community radio stations in England. It has been published in its new version on the first album by Maria Helena. The project’s other songs, ‘Spring’ and ‘Hunting’, were played on BBC 6 Music (Tom Robinson) and BBC Leeds (Emily Pilbeam, BBC Music Introducing in West Yorkshire), respectively.

‘Balkan Night’ single cover art, by Elżbieta


The album title ‘Planes’ is a reference to how it was being made. ‘The album was largely written on the road between Leeds and Wrocław, Poland, back when it was still possible to freely meet’, explains Maria. ‘Even the idea for the title came about during a flight, on my way from the UK to the studio in Łódź, Poland, where we did the majority of the recordings. It’s also a reflection on a world without borders, which we have lost for some time. Today, it’s hard to believe just how much within our reach everything was only a year ago.’

Maria adds that the aim of the author’s was to create a cohesive story. ‘The album opens with a darker track, ‘Electrocrime’. It’s a song about the chaos of contemporary world, and about the disturbing overload of stimuli and information we are all experiencing. In the other songs, we often highlight that, without an inner strength, and a connection with nature, art, and the other human being, it can be difficult to navigate this reality. We invite the listener to leave this rush behind for 41 minutes.’

A hummingbird flying next to a hummingbird feeder  Description automatically generated with low confidence Wojtek, who is also the producer of the album, adds that ‘the album paints a dreamy reality. Sometimes it’s a return to the world of childhood. It also tells stories about the fragility of human relationships. There’s references to physical travel, but also to inward journeys. It’s also about returning to friends, and to the magical places and moments, which shaped us.’

‘Planes’ album cover art, by Elżbieta Beszłej.

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