By Terry Paul Choyce, CDKU
The Music Room in Halifax was packed to overflowing last Friday night for the cd launch of Hurricane by the amazing Erika Kulnys. Erika and her group of talented musicians wowed us for two and a half hours of music, most of it written by Erika. This 25-year-old Halifax daughter is destined to be our next Sarah McLachlan.
For the last 8 years Erika has been travelling the world, going to school and experiencing the depths of human delight and suffering. Her songs reflect the pain, the ecstasy, and the hope of people everywhere. She sings song-stories about music on the streets of Northern Ireland, desperate hardship of a man in Brazil, the gratitude she felt in surviving a bus accident in Ohio, the heart break of leaving her girlfriend, and much more.
Her music is a blend of folk and jazz, with some classical riffs mixed in too. She is an accomplished guitarist and an incredible pianist. And her voice is beautiful and unique. Combine that with charismatic stage presence and a winning smile, and Erika Kulnys will go far in the music world.
So where does the courage come in? Erika is very open about being a lesbian, having somewhat radical left-of-centre political views, and she goes to the poorest parts on this planet to search out people to sing about, to learn about, to share her life with. She is a petite woman with a huge drive to help others and to spread love and music everywhere. She is now living in Brooklyn NY, trying to have her music heard there. I sure hope many people hear her, because her message is important, and her music is world-class.
At the concert Scott MacMillan played a mean guitar to several of Erika’s songs. Her Sister Aniko Lewton-Brain played violin, and she is also a major upcoming Halifax star. Her brother Nicky Veltmeyer, just 15 years old, blew us away with a song he wrote about being free. What a voice and personality! Other accompanists were Ryan Kotler, Keith Mullens, Matt Myer, and Shannon Lynch – all very professional. My only complaint is that Erika had to play the “tuning song” too many times. But the homemade cookies and apple cider made up for any lags in the show.
I’ve owned the cd Hurricane for several months and play it often on my program on CKDU. (88.1fm Sundays at 2). My favourite song is Thank You, but all of them are great. From the incredible photography, to the excellent musicianship, to the great production, this is a cd you want to own. To get a copy go to www.erikakulnys.com. And to hear a song go to BandCamp. You will not be disappointed in this young woman who has the courage to express her views, and experience life in its fullness. Five stars for Erika Kulnys.