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VIDEO: Promaja – what is it all about?

By Loreta Kovacic

I wrote a song about the phenomenon of ‘promaja’, the ‘deadly’ draft which causes headaches, sickness and muscle and bone pain, on a plane coming back to Houston from Croatia. I love writing when I travel, it is just so natural to write while experiencing something outside the daily grind.

Part one of my song is about the summer heat as it relates to ‘promaja’, or the draft of cold air this time coming from AC.

Well, as you all know, this summer was a really hot one. The heat in Croatia was insane. I would walk down my street in Zagreb and look up to see people’s windows. If the windows are open, that was a “tell-tale sign that they are not using the AC. In Houston you will never see an open window during summer heat.

The temperature in Zagreb was pretty much like in Houston, close to 100 degrees (37 °C) but with no AC.

My parents do not have an AC so it is what it is, but I noticed that many places, especially stores do have a window unit type of AC. However, they are not using it. My mother would always say how that cold air from the AC is unhealthy and how it can cause diseases. This belief is still very strong in Croatia, and even in most parts of Europe. I remember being in Paris one summer and being hot everywhere I went.

Even my very cute dentist in Zagreb on Britanski Trg, who I thought was modern and progressive, shared the same old belief that the ‘draft’ can kill you. When he was working on me, he was sweating profusely and I admit, I found it sexy. He had AC but it was set on about 90 (32 °C), making the difference between the outside heat and inside heat very minor. He shared with me how horrified he would be if he worked in cold air and then walked out into that hot air – it is just too too much for a person’s heart.

AC was invented about 100 years ago, but it has not found its way into Croatia’s heart yet. 

My daughter and I went shopping at some cool second-hand shops on Ilica past Britanac. One of the shop owners finally admitted to me that they are not using AC because they are trying to save money. Well, I do understand this explanation. It makes a little more sense to an Americanized Croat such as myself. 

Pršut (prosciutto) and cheese are the most traditional Croatian daily delight. When the heat starts melting pršut and cheese, I think it’s time to act?!

Part two of my song was the “heat” happening inside my house, caused by people. My old house in Croatia is very troubled by years of bad karma and bad situations; from drug addiction to mental illness and pain caused by it. It was very difficult to see mental illness go untreated, old people not being able to care for the young, and threats from family members who are not happy and not healthy. My childhood in that house was nothing like what I was witnessing there now. I can say that I lived there happily most years. Now it was sad and troublesome. This is the truly sad part of my song.

“Promaja”  
by Loreta Kovacic (lyrics)

Croatian summer crawls inside my bed
Sweat decorates a stubborn forehead
100 degrees makes me feel insane
Inside this paralyzed brain
Promaja!

Victorious heat defeats the comfort
Sweat glistens and tensions rise
Standing to fight I am week in the knees
Insanity creeps into a child’s eyes
Promaja!

I don’t think that draft is a killer but 
That’s not Croatian at all
Not at all
Hoarder house makes me feel so small
Nona needs to vent the house
Nona needs to face the breeze
Promaja can kill they all believe but
Heat is melting prsut and cheese
Promaja!

Knives glisten and stay unguarded
Slicing through an innocent bread
Hot air gets serious and heavy
Insanity creeps into a child’s head
Promaja!

This old house is too old for change
Hot air feels troublesome and strange
Years of bad karma scarred her walls
Whispering of drug comas and lost souls
Promaja!

I don’t think that draft is a killer but
That’s not Croatian at all. Not at all.
Hoarder house makes me feel so small
Nona needs to vent the house
Nona needs to face the breeze
Promaja can kill they all believe but
Heat is melting pršut and cheese
Promaja! 

I’ll be back in winter time.
I don’t think that draft is a killer
I’ll be back in winter time!

Check out the song below. 

Reviews for the song “Promaja” from friends:

“It’s so melancholy, so like lazy overbearing day. It swells, teases, then settles back over you. It makes me sad but I like that. It’s the wallowing sad that feels so comfortable. It makes me want to go melt in Croatia.”  – By Jody Virgilio

“What a melodic, bittersweet ode to that house in Croatia. I can definitely relate the homes where the bad karma leaves to suffocation!” – by Lara Purser

“Very evocative and beautiful” – by Alice Savage

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4.17 / 5 (6 votes)

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