Blesok no. 22, August-September, 2001
Two Steps Forwards - One Step in Place
Summer Jazz Festival Kumanovo 2001
This year’s edition of the Summer Jazz Festival Kumanovo, third in a row, took place recently (30 August – 1 September) in one of the two crisis areas in the country. Without cancellations of the participants and in an atmosphere fitting to any normal cultural event on the planet Earth. With an audience that encounters the modern music, noise and airing the impressions in the cafés where the life does not fade away with the beginning of the curfew, with promotions of the documented materials of the previous two events that give the desired traditonality of the event the needed patina, with a rhythm that incessantly pulsates in the veins and the muscles, beauty and smiles as opposite to the ugliness that this time – no-time carries in itself (Here in an abnormal time still, one lives “normally”, or have we gotten used to everything that is reality of our common and unparalleled lives?!). and all of this as a protest of the thinkers against the situation in which persistently and constantly the war and disintegration of the country – the Republic of Macedonia is promoted. Finally, even like this, even more convincing, the identity, independence and the statehood of this peace of the wild Balkans is defended. It is here and now, with an open heart and without thoughts confused by the roar of the military trumpets. Simple.
Despite this positioning of the event which, nevertheless, presupposes “specific” conditions, even named by us “conditions of war”, in which the event was to happen, and which can, but do not have to have the understanding of those who were invited to participate at the Summer Jazz Festival Kumanovo 2001, it is visible that it did not cope with the pace imposed by the previous yours in the program part. And almost understandable. Simply, its honor this year was ”saved” by the local participants, which on its side stresses the strength and vitality of the Macedonian modern music. In this case it is the highly esthetisised and emotionally charged performance of the SYNTHESIS band, currently our most significant and most exciting offer for what has been entitled current world music (this time again, at another stop in the world tour which is on-going, the above mentioned easily confirmed why their performances at the renown and significant festivals such as the Belgium Sphinx for example are followed with alert attention). Besides this appearance, this conclusion is also topped by the suggestive character of the Macedonian folk singer Vanka Lazarova who shares the stage in a concept that fits her supreme voice (a voice that fights the load of years) and which would give its real outbursts in a closed space and more camera like conditions with the author and producer Zlatko Origjanski (ANASTASIA) and since recently, the Krushevo guitar player Hristo Hristovski.
Igor Dzambazov also worked out his appearance more than honestly and with the necessary dosage of artism which goes with his media omnipresence, promoting his own project “This Is Not Blues”. On top of it, he and his companion in this adventure, the guitar player Igor Atanasovski-Hare presented an excellent team of instrumentalists (the trumpet player Goce Dimitrovski from the MRTV Dance Orchestra, Dino Milosavlevikj and Gjoko Maksimovski – rhythm section of the Vlatko Stefanovski trio…) who did not leave any space of doubt in their offer or, God forbid, playing at any time. On the contrary.
Remarkable and full with energy on the side of the guests (just like at the Blues & Soul Festival in Skopje two years ago) was the performance of Nick & Backbone from neighboring Greece. And if one could have expected it from Nick Dunesis who is considered to be one of the best European guitar player, the concert of the piano player Vasil Hadzimanov and his accompanying band made of young but good musicians was too long and at times boring (some in the audience said “old fashioned”, “uninventive”…). It seems that their fusion of traditional music with jazz, funk, Afro-Cuban music, rock-and-roll, techno is yet to start “functioning” and raise above things already heard. The appearance of the Polish guitar player Leshek Chihonski and his Guitar Workshop (technically well played blues which doesn’t have the smallest bit of soul?!) was, mildly said, a complete failure.
As a whole, after the two steps forward (whose atmosphere has authentically been memorized on the two double albums with concert recordings of the participants of the previous events, and whose promotion happened before the second festival evening) and finding the self-typical concept (basically: presentation of the modern Balkan music and the music that touches upon and “exploits” the tradition), this is one step in place for the Summer Jazz Festival in Kumanovo. OK, the conditions in which the country is have to be taken into consideration, but the thought remains that from the neighborhood (where in general there is some “understanding” for the common Balkan conditions and a “black-out”) probably some other names could have been present (Boris Kovach, Marta Sebastian, Lajko Felix,… for example), and not to have the ones already seen (heard) in a short time period. This also means that the basic idea of the festival can be jeopardized too, and we believe it is on nobody’s mind.
Anyway, see you next year in Kumanovo at the Summer Jazz Festival (on which, by the way, some said this time shallowly that “it had no jazz at all”…?! And we wish that half of this article is in the past then, so that we can speak and write about the strength and esthetics of the offer as it is – present-day.