Updated: Dec 1, 2019
* by Maria (Mouv) Kouvarou
What would you do if you had just finished work on a very difficult day that closed an unbelievable week that was in fact the last week of an almost unbearable month? Oh, yes, it was 29/11/19 yesterday and I will tell you right now what I did! I put on some nice clothes; grabbed some money, my car keys and headed to Savino Live, for there’d been word of some good musicians being in town.
I entered the venue (surprise, surprise) early enough, engaged my favourite spot (far-back and to the left of the bar… private and dark with the best sound – just like the VIPs do it) and ordered my drink. The slight delay in the beginning of the event gave me enough time to relax and unwind, and get reconnected with my positive mood right before the opening act got on stage….
Call it a perfect timing. Up and coming songstress Náma (Anastasia Demetriadou), along with guitarist Andreas Christodoulou began playing their set of the songstress’ original songs. Náma demanded attention from the very first note and she rightly received it. With her unique melodies, an eclectic palette of sounds, and a folk element that is slightly darker than what the average Cypriot listener could take, the songstress alludes to one of my very beloved "music-witches”, Diamanda Galas (please mind you that this is probably the biggest compliment I ever gave a musician… and I mean e-v-e-r!).
Náma has full control over her voice, while she exhibits an impressive intuition on how to manipulate breath and silence in ways that convert them into valuable parts of her unique compositions. Her intonation, her pronunciation and her microtonal vocals, contribute in creating an even more ethereal effect, that resembles some dark and intimidating Irish country forest.
No one can deny Náma her undisputable talent, skill and commitment. Personally, I believe that she has the ability and she could indeed reach even higher dimensions by the addition of glimpses (at least) of esotericism, brief toning downs and passing de-elaborations (both in songwriting and performance) that would allow for her eloquent bursts and dramatic outbreaks to stand out and become appreciated even more.
All in all, Náma was the most appropriate beginning to the evening and provided a perfect atmosphere warm-up for Freedom Candlemaker, who was soon to be on stage.
There’s something in some musicians’ aura that makes you trust them on first sight, somehow knowing that you are in for a significant music experience. Such was my feeling with the band, and it was proven correct. They performed 14 songs in total, all original compositions, including the whole Beaming Light album, and a few songs from The age of now (Lefteris Moumtzis’ – Freedom Candlemaker’s – previous album).
In an impressively tight manner, the skilled musicians took us for a musical ride with their blend of indie, synthie, alt(i)e and even pop(py) styles, adding some serious glimpses of psychedelia, folk, groove and jazz. Every note played, every tone sung, every beat skipped contributed to the creation of an atmosphere that is rarely experienced on Cypriot stages. From the first note of “Flawless Rays of Sun”, Freedom Candlemaker, along with the Athenian-based Demetris Foken (guitar, vocals), Vasilis Vlachakos (guitar, vocals), Orestis Benekas (keyboards, vocals) and Demetris Economou (drums, vocals), took us on an aural journey towards parts “Of the Universe” that approached a state of methexis. I can say that it was a journey much appreciated by everyone present...
...and I am sure that everyone has his or her own highlight from the evening. Mine was the “Silent Song”. It is my top favourite song from Beaming Light, but hearing it live in such an eloquent performance, enhanced by a brilliant jazz-infused keyboard solo by Orestis Benekas, was an experience on its own right.
Second highlight was, of course, “Astral Body”, which I also blasted on my speakers while driving back home, satisfied, pleased, filled with good music and… hope. "Why hope?" I hear you ask... and I reply: For the audience might had been small, but it was the type of audience that artists like both Freedom Candlemaker and Náma deserve: focused, informed, appreciative, respectful and with their full attention turned to the special ritual that was taking place on stage.