(Church of the Holy Cross)

Live sample from the concert of Chris and Carla
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Ars Harmonica, Poland

The passion for the accordion connected the three musicians who met in the Music Academy in Katowice (Poland), where they perfected their own skills under Prof. Joachim Pichura's supervision. The trio has won numerous national and international competitions. They have also performed with famous symphony orchestras. The musicians have a broad range of artistic programmes, which demonstrates´the tremendous expression and sound possibility of the accordion. They prove that the accordion is suitable for every music style. During their concerts we can listen to J.S.Bach, A.Vivaldi, and A.Piazzolla, but - how to musicians claim that - the closest to their hearts and the most eagerly performed is folk music of the Slavonic lineage. The unique atmosphere of folk music comes from the connection of irregular rhythms, the specific temperament of the Balkcan music and vivid harmonies typical for Middle and East Europe.
Ars Harmonica's set list included Leonard's Who by fire. Connect with the band at

Jakub Mietla on the left; Piotr Chololowicz below on the left and Michal Opeldus on the right. These three photos by Katharina Berger from

Chris and Carla, Seattle, USA

Chris Eckman and Carla Torgerson are the masterminds of the Walkabouts, a band from Seattle who have released more than 20 albums during the last two decades and who have gained huge popularity in Europe.

Both are engaged in other projects as well. Chris is writing songs almost every day and has released two solo CD's. He also works as producer for a couple of bands and singers (Midnight Choir, Terry Lee Hale, etc ..). He is now married and living in Slovenia. Carla still lives in Seattle. She has such a gifted voice that even the popular English band "The Tindersticks" invited her to sing on a few of their songs. Carla has studied in Freiburg, Germany for some semesters. In interviews they often mention the influence of Leonard Cohen on their labour in song.

Chris Eckman:
"When I was 17 I remember reading a review of "Death Of A Ladies Man" in Rolling Stone magazine. Rolling Stone was basically my bible. In the preceding years I had been turned on to all of my heroes, Young, Reed, Smith, The Ramones via its reviews section. The review of Cohen's album was savage. After reading it I thought to myself, stay away, not for me. Cohen had been at the top of my list of artists to check out, and suddenly he completely dropped off the radar for me.

A few years later I met Carla Torgerson at a fish cannery in the tundra wasteland of Alaska. We started to play guitar together during the few hours that we had off from the dull, nosiy assembly line work. One of the first songs she taught me was "Suzanne." I was completely awe struck by the words, and of course the wonderful way she sang the song.

After that I sought out Cohen's stuff in a big way. He became a distant, invisible mentor, steering me to work and rework the words of my songs. I have relentlessly chased his fragile universality and his deep, ragged authority. I am still involved in the chase, and listening closely and reverently to everything he releases. There is much to be learned.

Oh, for the record, even though I don't read Rolling Stone magazine anymore, I do believe they were right about "Death Of A Ladies Man."

Carla Torgerson:
"I have been singing Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" since I was fourteen years old and I never tire of the song. With every year that I get older, it simply grows in meaning for me. And yet, I still don't completely understand the song. That's what is fascinating about all of Leonard’s songs"

On Saturday Chris and Carla performed a selection of their own songs and Leonard's Avalanche and Suzanne. Their website is at

Elizabeth Laishley, Calgary, Canada

Elizabeth displayed some of her new paintings: Tennessee Waltz and The Golden Gate.

"Over the last 30 years, the Poetry and Music of Leonard Cohen has given me pleasure and artistic inspiration. Therefore I decided to initiate a series of paintings with which I presume to interpret the songs of Leonard Cohen onto canvas. Just as the writing and music of Leonard Cohen, the paintings are suffused with symbolism, spiritualism, mystery and erotic sensuality. I have tried to bestow Cohen's intense mood and ethereal expression, but still show a glimpse of his macabre humour."

Click here to see these new paintings and a thid one (Because Of). Visit Elizabeth's website at

Photos © Eija Arjatsalo, except
Ars Harmonica artist photos © Katharina Berger
Henning with Chris and Carla © Christoph Franz
Texts from the Event booklet