Saturday, September 29, 2007

Oh Angelique!

What a concert yesterday night for Angelique Kidjo at the Barbican! She was just a-ma-zing!
The power, the energy, the aura she exudes... We were on our feet dancing away. She sang many tunes from her latest album Djin Djin, which I am bound to buy after such a performance!
She runs around, she dances madly, she sings like no one else, she makes us laugh in between songs, her musicians are awesome, and her music is so uplifting! This is one of the best concert I've ever been to!

This was also partly due to a very good supporting act, the beautiful Mayra Andrade. Her music is close to that of Cesaria Evora (Mayra is from Cape Verde too) but I also found a hint of fado and bossa nova in it. Her voice reminds me of Astrud Gilberto and Amy Winehouse. Her stage presence equals Mariza's: she is very magnetic, and chats happily with the audience. She also sings in French sometimes, like Susheela Raman. As you have guessed by now, I think she is great and she joins my group of Queens of World Music! Gotta buy her album too!

Also, Angelique invited members of the audience to join her on stage for her last two songs! I jumped on this occasion and was first on stage! hehe We all danced around and I shaked my booty with her at one point. Brilliant! It was totally a "Love the people, Love the world" moment though, quite cliche really: all those people young and old of different races dancing together on some African tunes. I felt like I was in a Michael Jackson video or a Benetton advert. hehe

Here is a review from a professional reviewer from the Guardian, who obviously wouldn't have been there by himself otherwise, and who certainly is not a fan of African music: "She has a fine voice, but her songs were often brash and furious" That's the whole point! You gotta scream with her and get it out of your system, your joy, your pain, everything you have in you, out it goes!

Below Angelique Kidjo's version of the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter. Angelique Kidjo is angry that Africa is always portrayed in a bad light in our media, but when things are that bad, she supports the cause, here the plight of the Darfur refugees. This song makes me dance around though, but hey: Love, sister, it's just a kiss away!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Adolfo Suarez is 75 / Morphoses review

In 1976, a few months after the death of Franco, the new head of the Spanish state, the King Juan Carlos II, named Adolfo Suarez president of the government. his task: bring democracy to Spain.
Today, Adolfo Suarez is 75. El Pais celebrates his birthday by asking some of his colleagues to remember his best moment, in what is a good portrait and informational article about the Transition. Read on!

Went to see the show of new ballet company Morphoses, set up by Christopher Wheeldon, one of the most successful living choreographer, and it was really good. The reviews were pretty mixed (The Guardian loved it, the Financial Times not at all) I really enjoyed it, though you could tell the company is new and it is quite a financial gamble: the programme was rather short (4 ballets of 20,7,27 and 20 minutes respectively) with many Pas de Deux (ie less ballet dancers to pay!), costumes borrowed from other companies and little stage design. But the pieces were very good and the dancers amazing. Wheeldon gave credit to the choreographer he is inspired by (Balanchine and Forsythe) before presenting a new ballet, Fools' Paradise.

One of the member of the company is Aesha Ash, a great ballerina, tall, with shapes, really long legs, and black! And there aren't many, as this article from the NY Times reported a few months ago. She was great, in a William Forsythe's Pas de Deux. Can't wait to see more of her.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The reviews are out!

The reviews for the stage adaptation of All about my mother at the Old Vic are in the papers today.

The Times says "Samuel Adamson’s adaptation of Todo sobre Mi Madre can’t be and isn’t a wholly satisfactory substitute for the original film. Yet you soon overlook such minor irritants as the bustling scene shifters or the falling curtain that allows them to whizz about the furniture while gratuitous monologues occur at the front of the stage. And, yes, you’re absorbed in Tom Cairns’s production, which sticks to the basic story, adding little of importance except the intermittent appearance of the eager, watchful ghost of the young man whose death starts the proceedings."

The Guardian is less happy with it "The result is a sincere attempt to re-invent a great movie. But who would want a copy, however well done, when they can have the original?"

The Evening Standard says it is "an adaptation that improves upon the famous original" but reckons there are "fussy scene changes and film projections".

I actually loved the scene changes, as they leave you time to breathe and the music of Alberto Iglesias (from the movie) draws you even more into the world of the play. Acting-wise, it was great. I had trouble adapting to Mark Gatiss's Agrado. The accent was weird, but it really improved in the second act, and his last monologue was very very moving. The most famous sentence from the movie, "Una mujer es mas autentica cuanto mas se parece a lo que ha sonado de si misma", was told in Spanish.

The appearance of the ghost of the son after his death worked well for me too. As he reappears, the son becomes the writer he wanted to be, and I think in some cases he expresses the words of Almodovar, the writer. The girl who plays the nun (played by Penelope Cruz in the movie) is ok but her Spanish accent when she says "Mama" or "Papa" is very very bad. It actually sounds italian! (she stresses the first syllable instead of the second one) OK, it's a detail...

Lesley Manville and Diana Rigg are great. Incorporating Lorca's Blood Wedding at the end is a brilliant idea too. I was very moved, and was 'floating' for a while afterwards, and had to wait a little before I could discuss the show with my boyfriend. Bref, it's not the movie, but we knew that, it's a play. Does it work as a play? Absolutely.

In other areas, David Duchovny, the Mulder from X Files, the TV show I religiously watched as a kid, ha signed up for a second X Files movie along with Gillian Anderson, who played Scully, and Chris Carter, the creator of the show.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Chesil Beach, September 07