Saturday, July 11, 2009

Couleur Cafe

A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend at the Couleur Cafe festival in Brussels. The festival celebrated its 20th Anniversary and the program was jampacked with great artists. Possibly, this was also its last edition as the location where it was being held will be renovated. That's very sad, because it is a great feast! I have had the pleasure to see and hear; Ben Harper, Oi Va Voi, Cubanismo, Ozomatli, Alpha Blondy, Zap Mama, Solomon Burke and Cesaria Evora.

Solomon invited fifteen people on stage and handed out roses and necklaces to the audience (which we were able to lay hands on too!). The way he performs his songs is amazing: seated in a big chair the whole time, he never ceases to keep the audience involved. His lyrics are great too, by the way. I especially like:

"And there are people still in darkness,
and they just can't see the light.
If you don't say it's wrong then that says it right.
We got try to feel for each other, let our brother's know that we care.
Got to get the message, send it out loud and clear.

It's a simple truth we all need, just to hear and to see.
None of us are free, one of us is chained.
None of us are free.
now I swear your salvation isn't too hard too find,
None of us can find it on our own.
We've got to join together in sprirt, heart and mind.
So that every soul who's suffering will know they're not alone"

Even though she's already 68 years old, Cesaria Evora definitely rocks the stage. Her voice is beautiful and when she sings her (relatively expressionless) face completely lights up. My favorite moment of the concert was when she said there would be an instrumental song, so she could sit down and smoke. And that's what she did: in the middle of the stage, she sat herself down on a chair, lit a cigaret and took her time. "Always enjoy life to the fullest" is what she seemed to say.

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