There's a whole series of events gathered for showcase during the Voyage Night Festival organized by the National Museum. Happening over these 2 weekends, there're film screenings, exhibitions, installations, roving and stage performances of sound, art and voices...etc. I eagerly downloaded the schedule from the site and marked out what I wanted to see. In the end, my calendar was blocked out all of Friday night for it. :)
It wasn't teeming or suffocating with human traffic in the area. I suspect the various events in town and the Jacky Cheung concert took a portion of the crowd away. Wheww. Good for us. Less people to fight with. Merrily crossing between Stage A and B at the SMU campus, and the museum, I thoroughly enjoyed the excitement and vibes of the night. Rain threatened the open-air stages, but somebody did the job of steadying the onion and chilli- the skies held. Gorgeous photos of the various performances up at the National Museum's facebook page. (Read more over at superadrianme's post on the performances.)
I'm quite thrilled because I successfully dragged the man along to expand his musical absorption beyond rock, metal and post-rock, and his darling Tori Amos. Hah. Prepared for a humid night out, we hydrated, dressed light and jumped smack into the crowd. For once, I squeezed past the humans right to the front of the stage. I know, at rock gigs, I'm not this 'on'. :P
We caught so many wonderful acts. They're amazing. The haunting thirds of the folk songs from Bulgarian Eva Quartet, the absolutely entertaining and breathtaking movement of Belgian Theatre Tol, the melodious tunes of Goa-Portuguese Sonia Shirsat in Mundo Fado, the cheerful reverberating scapes of Georgian The Shin with Black Sea Fire, lovely exotic sounds of Iranian Niyaz... plenty plenty. I like them all. But it wasn't difficult to select a favorite. Niyaz comes very close, but my pick is the charismatic smouldering and expressive Balkan Oana Cătălina Chiţu & Bucharest Tango.
This show is especially interesting not just because of the vibrance of the tango. It's also particularly telling of turbulent period in Romanian history. Since the Mineriad in 1990, the perceived decadence and bright lights of Romanian tango is now seeing a revival after almost a century of ahemmm....repression under the austere Communist regime. It's intriguing how the music didn't die, but has been carefully tucked away in the rural lands and memories of the people, preserved for a day when it's safe to sing aloud again.
Oana Cătălina Chiţu & Bucharest Tango put on a joyful performance. The singer and the band complemented each other perfectly. Such merriment to hear the instruments sing to each other. The musicians didn't just mechanically play; they had so much camaraderie with one another. Oana Cătălina Chiţu's rich vocals brought Romanian tango and the romance of the pre-World War I era to the city. I love her voice and danced a little. The humans watching were most boring. I didn't understand how they could have stood still and not even sway to the passionate and poetic beats.
Like the bandoneón in emphatic Argentine tango music, the accordion features largely in the sounds of Romanian tango. Tonight, Bucharest Tango's Dejan Jovanovic wielded his accordion with mastery, playing both lead and follow to the cimbalom, violin and guitar. I like him. It explains the many photos I took of him. Heh. He played with mirth and a full range of emotions, making him absolutely fascinating to watch.
Oh, please do make time to pop by and watch these performances if they appeal. It's an amazing, exhilarating show. Sweaty and sticky, all of us totally enjoyed the night. I went to bed with a smile and a head full of music. Today, I'm still on an adrenalin high, and in a little bit of a rapture.