As many countries in Europe are being lifted from lockdown, we are continuing our weekly slidebacks to look back at a memorable song in Eurovision history! Today, we’re off to Poland and looking at their 1996 entry. Kasia Kowalska was sent to Oslo to fly the represent Poland with the song “Chcę Znać Swój Grzech!”
Still new to the whole “Eurovision” thing
Being the mid-90s, Poland, like many Eastern European countries at the time, had a short history in the Eurovision Song Contest. Their debut was in 1994, with Edyta Gorniak’s song “To Nie Ja!,” which came 2nd. Their only other song that competed prior to 1996 was “Sama” by Justyna Steczkowska, which had impressive vocals but an unimpressive result, coming only 18th.
In 1996, TVP chose 22-year-old Kasia Kowalska to represent Poland at Eurovision with the song “Chcę Znać Swój Grzech” (trans. I Want to Know My Sin). Kasia already had two Polish number one tracks to her name and was ready to take Oslo by storm.
She qualified through that weird audio-only preselection round that they thought was a good idea in 1996 easily enough, coming 15th in that round. In the live final in Oslo, she got a similarly lukewarm reception there too, coming 15th again.
Personally, I love this song. It’s that kind of weird and cool composition that Poland was really good at in the nineties. And I;’ll always be a sucker for a screaming diva. However, I’m not sure off the top of my head if she’s even in my top 10 for the year. 1996 is my favorite ESC ever, and it’s *so* strong as a year that this song that I love probably does sit around 10th for me. Nevertheless, it’s still an excellent entry.
What does the team think?
From the countries that debuted in 90s, Poland probably brought the most interesting songs. Their first few entries really stood out as something Eurovision lacked before and “Chcę znać swój grzech” is definitely my favourite out of them. Kasia gave a emotional performance and deserved much better placing. Beautiful entry that also stood the test of time.
Poland are often very…inconsistent at the contest, and always have been. However, this is an absolute gem, and deserves as much praise as their lauded 1994 debut. I don’t understand most of what she’s saying, but I FEEL every word. The melody isn’t conventional, but her delivery is alluring and intense – everything I want from a ballad. I pray they return to shrieking in Polish for the 2021 contest, it’s their finest form.
This song sounds to me like a pre-revamped Festivali i Këngës winner from the last decade. Maybe because of a super-strong female vocalist, dramatic melody or perfect finishing touches by the live orchestra. And we must keep in mind that “Chcę znać swój grzech…” was released almost 25 years ago. It‘s pretty impressive and timeless. I was about to say that I can‘t imagine this song being performed in English and then I found the English version on Youtube. It‘s also good, but I think that the Polish language adds some kind of sharpness and spiciness, which suits this song really well.
I remember I loved the preview video before the contest and was hooked on the song, it’s dramatic and very mysterious, especially when you don’t understand a word and the title “Chcę znać swój grzech” is almost unpronouncable. But I was stuck on the song itself, and the music video that I was convinced this would do very well in Oslo. It was different and it stood out from the rest somehow, there was no other song like this in.
However, on the final night (although Kasia was vocally very good) I felt a big dissapointment from the presentation of the entry on stage. I don’t know what the 14-year old me was expecting, but the whole magic somehow dissapeared, and well, it ended up undeservedly low, 15th. However, “Chcę znać swój grzech” remains one of my favorite Polish songs and among my fave ones from 1996. Sidenote: Poland managed to send brilliant songs every year from their debut entry in 1994 until 1997. I don’t know what happened from 1999 and on…
Do you love Poland’s song from 1996? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ESCXTRA, and like our official page on Facebook so you don’t miss out on any of our content!