Blesok no. 27, July-August, 2002
Cesaria Evora at the Universal Hall in Skopje
The better closing of the first Off-Fest in Skopje (behind which, by the way, stands the well-known promoter – The Skopje Jazz Festival), probably couldn’t be even imaginable. The fine art music lovers in Skopje had the privilege to see the concert of the matchless Cesaria Evora, one of the most famous and one of the most commercial names in the world, in the high-heated (and should we even mention – the crowded) Universal Hall in Skopje, at 19th of June this year.
The “Bare-footed” legend, which, in this moment, works her concerts from her European Tour after the releasing of her album with her greatest hits, appeared at the Universal Hall Stage with her orchestra that numbers 12 instrumentalists, top masters of the trade, and men in which veins music pulsates of the Greenhorn Islands. So it’s understandable that right after the very first few minutes of their music that is so close to ours by its emotionality and warmth, automatically – all possible obstacles between the audience and Evora vanished, and the Skopje audience welcomed her in the only way possible – with opened exaltation. And she, at the start of her standard concert repertoire – by the way, consisted by her most known and famous music-numbers from the albums “Cesaria” (1975), “Cabo verde” (1997), “Mar Azur” and “Café Atlantico” from 1999 and especially the last-year’s “Sao Vincente Di Longe” – introduced the audience in the traditional morna-style – the music that strongly recalls her native islands and combines the West-African rhythms with Portugal guitar melodies, the Brazilian sounds and the British sailor cantations, within the atmosphere in which everything lays on the emotions and the rhythm which, in the mellow, and let it be even sensual way moves the one’s body. And besides that, in spite of her age and the professionalism that her decades in the business prompt, she wisely controlled the atmosphere, not forgetting even for one moment about the language difference and she didn’t allow that fact to interrupt within her experiments in her communication with the audience. So, everything was in the submitted to the essence of her music and its reproduction. The hits followed one after another, and in one moment, Cesaria even allowed herself to remain alone at the stage, with only her pianist along, (the idea was probably to introduce us with the natural ambient of the Cabo Verde
inns), and there happened the only “gaff” at the concert: the ballad she sang turned into the joke understandable only to her at the moment, but swiftly, the other musicians of her crew arrived at the stage, and the things continued in the best way possible. We can note the creative peak of the concert: the performing of the beautiful music number “Serenata de amore”, that culminated with the furious performance of the title theme of her last album. We can also note her only return back on the stage by the request of the audience with her unforgettable performance of the Latino-classic “Besame mucho”.
One way or another, this was more than solid concert introducing with the great star of the contemporary world fine music – Cesaria Evora, although the question why she didn’t performed her probably most famous song “Ausencia” (made in collaboration with Goran Bregovic), remained unanswered. Generally speaking, we witnessed the musically very successful concert at which the only opponent was the “amortized” Universal Hall, with no air-condition at this high temperatures. So, the impression would be surely quite different, if this concert, as the concerts of David Byrne and Zuko 103 happened in different (normal) conditions, but the old fact is that in spite the tendency in Skopje to “bring the world in”, the real situation is such that Skopje doesn’t have where to bring it – normally. As for now…
Translated by: Petar Volnarovski