22. "Off-fest": An impressive range of unique and musically autonomous language
The twenty-second edition of the traditional "Off-fest" will be held from June 7 to 10 at the National Opera and Ballet and in the MKC, and this year it consists of eight concert performances and one documentary film.
The presence of the "music of the world" and the tradition of one of the most important musical events in our country continues with this edition. The festival once again confirms its high reputation with an extremely rich and diverse program.
On June 7 at the National Opera and Ballet, the festival will open with an impressive audiovisual performance by the famous Portuguese fado singing star Mission.
The fascinating power of the modern Estonian folk queen Marie Kalkun, combined with the sumptuous interpretation of the Macedonian traditional song by the one and only Zarina Prvasevda and its composition, will create conditions for a flawless festival experience on the second evening.
The original mix of the desert guitar blues and the trance rhythms of the Italian Taranta on the tandem Justin Adams and Mauro Durante, will meet the sophisticated introspective lyricism and irresistible charm, talent and vision of our New Yorker Krste Rodzevski.
About the mysterious aura of the cult Czech couple Irena and Wojtek Havel will witness their unique concert journey, but also the screening of the documentary film "Little Blue Nothing: A musical portrait of Irena and Vojtech Havlovi".
This year's "Off-fest" will be rounded off by the furious performances of two extremely exciting musical phenomena: the new world music attraction "Bab l' blues” with its psychedelic Moroccan funk-rock sound, as well as the nine-piece orchestra of the legendary Congolese rumba name, guitarist Dizzy Mandjeku & Odemba ok all-stars.
The Portuguese star Mission is a pioneer, a free spirit, who managed to build her own path in the genre and probably that's why she got the nickname "anarchist of fado". He recorded his first successes abroad, first in Spain and Japan, then in France and Germany. She soon gained worldwide popularity, starting a real international career, which lasted for three decades.
The music of Marie Kalkun, although he sings it in a language that few understand, creates a meditative and unusual atmosphere that evokes many emotions. Her free musical arrangements are basically determined by the sound of the kannel – a traditional Estonian zither.
On the border between authenticity and the transfer of cultural heritage through self-expression, the Macedonian artist Zarina Prvasevda found his own expression on the long-awaited debut album "Echo", a release containing 11 traditional songs in 4 different languages. Released by Croatia Records, the album sums up Zarina's artistic vision through the freedom and wandering between all the folk heritage influences that have inspired her.
The duo Justin Adams и Mauro Durante are top musicians with diverse backgrounds united by their deep connection to ancient trance music.
Krste Rodzevski is a Macedonian singer, guitarist and composer, active in the avant-garde "downtown" scene since his move to New York in the late nineties of the last century. After the release of the trilogy: "Batania" (2015), "Bitter Almonds" (2017) and "The Rabbit And the Fallen Sycamore" (2018), Rojevski is shooting "Hubris" (2020) and "Fair Weather Friends" (2022). . These are conceptual albums with introspective lyrics and electroacoustic sound, enriched with experimental and free-jazz elements.
The Czech duo Irena and Wojtek Havel (The Havels) have almost 40 years of joint artistic career and partnership behind them. They started working together in the mid-80s as part of the experimental ensemble "Capella Antiqua e Moderna", a unique association of musicians whose repertoire covers various styles of European classical music: from the Renaissance to the contemporary. Over the years they have gone through several developmental stages of their own, traveling far and wide through time and space, developing their own unique and musically autonomous language. An intimate journey through the world of Irena and Vojtech Havel will be shown with the documentary "Little blue nothing".
Straight from the heart of the Maghreb, "Bab l' Blues" (translated: "Gateway to the Blues"), redefine traditional North African blues in a non-traditional way. This quartet, formed in Marrakech in 2018, is inspired by Moroccan musical traditions, combined with rock music, contemporary sounds and Moroccan pop.
The guitarist Dizzy Mandjeku is a living legend of Congolese rumba. Before becoming a member of the famous orchestra "OK Jazz" on Franco Luambo Macchiadi in the 60s and 70s, Dizzy was already leading several bands, performing with numerous giants of the Congolese music scene. The Congolese rumba has recently been declared a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The program of "Off-fest" captures the diversity of music from all continents, focusing on separate categories, from traditional, ethnic, folk and source music all the way to contemporary, urban and experimental music trends. The list of participants throughout the history of "Off-fest" is impressive, and this year it will be enriched with eight musical projects.
(The text was published in "Cultural Press" number 181, in the printed edition of the newspaper "Sloboden Pechat" on 2-4.6.2023)