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May 27, 2004

Budapest Sun

A balancing act between a genial performance and a musical clown's joke: Bobby McFerrin's first concert in Hungary was a true success for audiences starved for the experience. But the majority of the audience had come for the second part of the concert: jazz, not the classical music and not for Don't Worry, Be Happy either. This fact was all the more underlined by the clumsy applause, that McFerrin tried to hush demonstratively, coming between movements during the classical pieces. That was not the case in the second part of the program when the musician encouraged the audiences to sing along.

The line between delivering an artistic production and degenerating into a popular musical clown act is pretty thin - I felt that this line was transgressed more than once in the sing-a-long songs. Although at one point, he addressed individuals to accompany him - and two out of four attempts proved to be a wonderful success - when Bach's Ave Maria was performed, it seemed a whole choir seated in the middle of the audiences joined in. I was not convinced that the community singing aspect does not harm the artistic value of the performance. But nonetheless, the inclusive elements could not spoil the experience of McFerrin's virtuosity, whether it was singing solo, based on jazz, pop or classical music, jumping from one tone to the other over four octaves, making an effect of not one but two or three people singing or instruments playing. This was his true talents revealed, in a harmonious, fine, graceful form. A real musical jewel box: The lid was lifted and McFerrin's genius rose

Posted by acapnews at May 27, 2004 10:21 PM

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