Kora, rebellious rock diva, dies of cancer aged 67

Kora at the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole in 1980. Krzysztof Świderski

Known for her vocal gymnastics, Kora was an icon of her time.

Born Olga Aleksandra Ostrowska on June 8 1951 in Kraków, after a troubled childhood, marked by her stay in an orphanage, she became a free-spirit adolescent, involved in Kraków’s alternative artistic community of the late 60’s and dubbed ‘Queen of Kraków’s hippies’. 

In 1971 she married Marek Jackowski, one the most important guitarists in the history of Polish music. Jackowski was, at the time, an influential member of such outstanding Polish bands as Marek Grechuta’s Anawa and Osjan. In 1976, together with Milo Curtis, and John Porter, they formed the band Maanam, one of the most significant groups in the history of Polish pop.

Their nation-wide debut during the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole in 1980 was nothing less than an earthquake on the Poland’s musical scene, and Kora's dynamic and aggressive performance, influenced by new wave music, changed Polish music forever.

Kora wrote and sung a great number of hits which became a soundtrack for the last years of communism in Poland, and, simultaneously, an antidote to it. Songs such as Boskie Buenos (Heavenly Bueons) or O! Nie rób tyle hałasu (Oh! Stop Making So Much Noise) were anthems for Poland’s youth during Martial law. 

Kora was also worked extensively as a solo artist, writing and performing not only her own new material, but also covering, in a very intelligent and innovative way, classic evergreens of Polish music.

Kora during the "Must Be the Music" talent show.
(Stach Leszczyński)

More recently, Kora was a judge of the talent show “Must Be the Music".

She had struggled with cancer for years, openly talking about her fight with the illness. 

She died on July 28 in her house in the small village of Bliżów, in south-eastern Poland.