I wish I’d seen Maria Callas] live. She has to be my very-favourite female opera singer -make that female vocalist – ever. Her voice has a real, non-operatic, throaty, real sound, and you get the sense listening to her or seeing her that she lived her parts -and if you know anything about her life and tumultuous relationship with a certain Onassis fellow, you’ll know that stabbing scene in Tosca wasn’t exactly her faking it… sheesh.
Still very much in the earthy vein, lastnight I attended one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, bar none. Obnoxious audience members notwithstanding, seeing Goran Bregovic live rates as one of the best experiences for me, ever. The fact I got to meet and speak with him the day before was a nice bonus too (insert smarmy journalistic smirk … now). There was a real sense of community (for the most part), and a palpable joy in the air as Bregovic and his 18-piece band (yes, eighteen) tore through his biggest hits from both film scores and rock albums. Again, as with Callas, Bregovic doesn’t suit the genre he’s ascribed to; “rock” doesn’t quite fit him, nor does “folk” or “roots” or “gypsy” or that eponymous (and hipsterish) label “gypsy-punk.” I asked him Friday what he thought about the label “world” and he let out a sigh. His basic answer: labels are a waste of time, just do what you love, and enjoy it.
Good advice. While his passion for gypsy culture is undeniable (I was quizzed about my own background at length), I’ve always been the most taken with artists who take existing artforms and make it entirely their own. It’s what brings life, joy, and celebration. At least that’s my theory for now.