International music festival “Usadba Jazz” was held near Voronezh on Saturday, July 7. According to preliminary estimates of the organizers, approximately 5 thousand people came to the park of Oldenburgsky Castle in Ramon to listen to music.
The music programme of the open-air took unfolded on two stages and in the park itself. The first ones to perform for the festival guests were musicians of the Maracatu carnival orchestra. They performed dynamic Latin-American music while marching through the park and alluring the audience. Voronezh residents gladly joined the dancing.
– I’ve been to Brazilian carnivals many times, and one time I thought: why not bring the carnival here, to Russia? This is how Maracatu was created. But our approach is more wide-ranged: whilst at a Brazilian carnival both music and dance are limited to just samba, our repertoire includes music of various genres and styles, songs in Russian, Spanish and English, different dances and a drum show. We enjoy being like batteries, energizing people, - head of the orchestra Boris Popov told.
While following the carnival orchestra through the park, festival guests saw all the sites placed at “Usadba Jazz” by the festival partners. In different parts of the park visitors could do yoga, make flower wreaths, send their kids on a fairytale trip and even get a haircut.
Every year, the “Usadba Jazz” management focuses on the environmental side of the open-air. This year, the main eco-project was cup-sharing. All the willing could rent plastic cups made of re-usable plastic and use them instead of one-use cups during the whole festival day. At the end of the festival cups could be returned with a refund, but most visitors preferred keeping them as a memento.
Several bands at the traditionally multi-genre festival were responsible for classic jazz. Georgy Garanian’s ensemble of lead big-band musicians struck the audience with its furious vibes. The musicians decided to perform at the Voronezh Festival in expanded format – over 10 people were on the stage. With brass, key and drum instrument they played hard-rock-inspired jazz. After the performance, one of the viewers (according to him – a doctor) confessed to the musicians that he had been jumping so hard that ended up on the verge of clinical death.
Two Voronezh groups took part in the fifth festival at once: Blues Family that plays blues-rock classics and cover band Dreams Shadow which has earned the right to be on stage as the winner of VK Talents contest held in the corresponding social network.
Another pure-jazz element of the festival was the concert of Yulia Asadullina’s trio – the band that won the “Usadba Jazz” young musician contest in Sochi. The musicians played their own songs as well as their versions of folk and soviet songs and jazz hits. It was during the performance of Yulia Asadullina’s trio that clouds started piling up over the castle. In the midst of the concert it started raining.
– I was very pleased by the fact that the audience didn’t get scared of the rain and scatter. People put on raincoats, put up their umbrellas and continued dancing to our music. This, of course, added a new sound to the concert, we became more open, everything went on more soulfully. And even when a blast of wind tore and carried away the music sheets, it didn’t stop us. Firstly, we know our programme by heart and we were ready to play even without music sheets. And secondly, it gave us second wind, a sense of freedom and lightness, - leader of the band Yulia Asadullina shared her expressions.
The most mysterious performer of the festival was Alice Ten and Two Violas. Their concert turned out calm and chambered. Experimental baroque compositions played on ancient acoustic instruments right after the rain attracted people who were ready to listen.
Another gift to dance lovers was the performance of Cuban ensemble Hot Havana Orchestra.
American vocalist Catherine Russell, another representative of purely jazz direction, took the main stage following them. The singer performed songs of her own composition, as well as popular compositions by Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz stars. Catherine Russell’s parents are from Harlem, the singer grew up there and always visits those places.
- Of course, Harlem is a very special place for a jazzman. It’s the birthplace of jazz. Yes, the times now are different, but even today Harlem is full of jazz clubs, where many musicians perform. Everything in Harlem is literally imbued with jazz and vibrates to this day. This is a place of power for me, Catherine Russell said.
After the sunset, the most hardshell guests of “Usadba Jazz” lived to see the headliner of the fifth festival, Ukrainian musician SunSay. Andrey Zaporozhets, participant of 5'nizza duet, shared his new songs close in style to funk, soul and fusion with the Voronezh residents.
- My ten-year-old daughter finds my music pretty boring. She listens to some Korean boy-bands. My music comes from my heart, it’s very easy for me to write a song when I’m in love with a person or in a new place or just being in a lyric state. But I understand that I shouldn’t do this constantly, Andrey Zaporozhets said.
This year festival novelty was a live broadcast of the World Championship football match. The game of the Russian team with the team of Croatia was broadcasted on a big screen near the main music stage. Contrary to the fact that many Voronezh residents were critical of the prospect of uniting music and football at the festival, the music lovers and the sports fans did not interfere with each other. About a third of the open-air guests preferred football to the final concert.
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