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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 92 | volume XVI | September-October, 2013



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 92September-October, 2013
Sound Reviews

Skopje Jazz Festival – A Fertile Soul Bearing Rare Fruit

p. 1
Tina Ivanova

One more edition of the Skopje Jazz Festival is behind us. Like a butterfly, each edition pays us a quick and seemingly fleeting visit, in all of its color and beauty, always eluding our catch. At its core, music resembles one such being, ephemeral, fleeting, though the moment of contact comes across as an image-filled eternity, mediated by sadness, happiness, cruelty, romanticism, clarity, abstraction. Skopje has long been a departure point for the great musical names which have long made the Skopje Jazz Festival one of their ‘favorite’ concert stops. They depart for their homes, somewhere ‘out there’, in the US, Norway, Great Britain, France, Israel, or continue their tours on other stages, while we go back to our daily lives. Still under the influence of their art, this day-to-day existence seems far prettier. Until we come face to face with some local political conundrum, which in turn crushes our spirit, thus forcefully asking us to forsaken the music whose beauty we’d experienced not that long ago.

This past October, the Skopje Jazz Festival (SJF) brought us once again the magic of the world’s musical legacy. During its five days (evenings), different cultures and cultural presentations enlivened our stages, brought forth by artists such as Evan Parker, Roscoe Mitchell, John Abercrombie, Cassandra Wilson, Dave Holland, who selflessly shared themselves and their art with the audiences. This year too, the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, the Universal Hall, and the City Hall Center, carried through questions on whether the Macedonian jazz ambience changes, whether it follows the emerging world trends by foregrounding looser and more avant-garde concepts vis-à-vis the more classical jazz mannerism expected by the wider public. Yet, such debates run out of steam until the moment when the Festival chooses to join in on the general populist tastes, fueled by seeming extravagance, sensationalism and spectacle. Until, in fact, it chooses to forsaken its long-established quality status.

What matters, however, is that this year’s SJF attracted younger audiences, i.e., new generations of good music aficionados that replaced the politicians who used to populate the seats, not that long ago. One of the most significant attributes, still, for the Festival itself, but also for Macedonian culture in general, was the visit by a team from the French music TV channel Mezzo, who recorded almost all of the concerts. To those familiar with the world music scene, this station records and televises only the

"Blesok" editions 01-93 are also available at CEEOL web site.

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