18 years old with 32 million views: This Polish guitar prodigy tells us how he did it

2019-03-01 07:25
Marcin Patrzalek

Cape Town – Polish guitar prodigy Marcin Patrzalek is in South Africa for a live show titled Guitar Wizards and is ready to share his story about how he got 32 million views and counting. 

From working hard to what inspires him, and what you can expect from the local show, Marcin revealed all.


The young guitarist is known for playing Beethoven’s entire 5th Symphony and his exuberant take on everything from Metallica to Ed Sheeran. The reason he’s here is for a show which will also feature celebrated international award winning South African guitar duo CH2, which kicked off its South African tour at the Joburg Theatre on 28 February for four shows before moving on to The National School of Arts.

The performance on 6 March is preceded by a guitar workshop that all are welcome to attend. The show then moves to the newly refurbished Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria. The whistle stop tour then concludes at the glorious Paul Cluver wine estate in Elgin on 9 March.


About coming to our country for the first time, the young musician explained while sipping some hot tea, "It is my first time in South Africa but definitely not my last. It’s nothing that I expected, it’s very different than how I thought it would be and a lot different than Poland, but at the same time there are some wonderful similarities. It’s a really long way to come, it’s a 14-hour flight, so I think you expect it to be completely unlike anything I’ve ever seen it before, but the people are kind and the buildings are really pretty. It’s not too different than what you might see in Warsaw for example. Other than that, the climate is completely different, it’s crazy. When I was flying out of Warsaw, it was minus one degree Celsius and grey. Then I get out of the plane here and it’s beautiful and sunny."

Marcin was keen to explain that his success was not immediate but actually started off in a way a lot of people do nowadays, on a reality show. He elaborated, "At first, before I went viral, I did one of the biggest talent shows in my country and I won. It was a really huge thing for me. But, after the win – even though it was a big deal – I saw that without putting in the work you won’t get success. So, it’s been hard to find my place. But it was wonderful when the video including my Toxicity arrangement was published by Metal Hammer, a respected publication. After that, the video got 32 million views. After that happened I realised there’s huge potential in arrangements; taking legendary new tracks and reworking them in a fresh and original way. I express myself through them which is how I show the audience who I am and even introduce myself to new people. Now – in November – I did Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. So, I comprised the entire orchestra into one guitar. That was a blast. I published it on Facebook as well and now it’s on like 25 million views."

Although the audience gets to see the finished product, the dark-haired talent says there’s more to his performance than that, saying, "I think there’s two parts to it: There’s the visual part, which people come to the shows for but there’s also the other side before that happens that people don’t get to see. There’s the compressing of an orchestra into sheets and sheets of music, which is kind of hard."

But with that much theory going into each performance and video, it would seem easiest to play with sheet music in front you. Not so, says Marcin, "I play it all from memory, but I do not have a photographic memory. You know what’s extremely important, when you’re playing any instrument, is muscle memory. I don’t think I would be able to memorise so many pieces if I didn’t practice them so, so much. I practice so much so that when I pick up the guitar and play, it feels natural. Muscle movement is actually at the core of that."

With that level of work and effort going into each stage show or clip, the 18-year-old would be forgiven for being a devoted lover of ritual, but he prefers to let the inspiration hit when it wants. He said, "I don’t have a strict schedule because I think it would kill the vibe of this whole thing. Because it can get monotonous and get in your own head by saying to yourself, 'It’s 16:00 I need to practice!' The thing is, is that each day is different and my repertoire has gotten bigger and bigger so I lay different styles."

Is there one artist that inspired Marcin to do this? No not really, he admitted, "I won’t say there was a person for me like that because the style I do - that is visible both online and in concert – it’s a very weird sort of style, it’s very modern. To be honest, there weren’t that many people who have done this style in the past or do it now. It’s something different. I could only pick up some things online like different ideas and techniques and make it my own. So, there wasn’t one specific person, but I’m not trying to replicate anyone’s music, I’m more interested in making new sounds. It’s a very interesting thing to make so many different sounds from one instrument."



Tickets: Start at R220

Dates: 27 February to 2 March 2019

Time: 20:00

Venue: The Fringe at Joburg Theatre 

Booking: Webtickets


Tickets: Start at R220

Date: 8 March 2019

Time: 20:00

Venue: Atterbury Theatre

Booking: Atterbury Theatre


Tickets: R150 (including workshop)

Date: 6 March

Workshop time: 15:00

Show time: 19:00

Booking: Webtickets


Tickets: Start at R220

Date: 9 March 2019

Time: 20:00

Venue: Paul Cluver Amphitheatre, Elgin

Booking: Webtickets

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