FolkWorld Live Review 06/2000:

Galician Music with Classical and Portuguese traces

Camerata Meiga with Amélia Muge in Vigo

By Michael & Christian Moll

The Centro Cultural Caixavigo is Vigo's first address for concerts and theatre. Recently fully refurbished, the old and elegant Barock building demonstrates very well the ancient splendour. Camerata Meiga played there on a Saturday in May.

Starting at 10 p.m., many seats in the concert hall remained free. The audience that came was very mixed up - from dressed-up concert goers to informally dressed youths.

Camerata Meiga, Press Photo There was fog on stage when the band came up to play. The seven lads started the concert with a set of tunes. Later on, they invited their special guest and big bonus for this concert on stage: The great singer Amélia Muge, who also sang on their latest CD "Habelas Hailas".

The strength of Camerata Meiga lies in the combination of traditional Galician music and Classical elements. The Classical bit comes mainly from cellist Víctor Gil and violinist José Amador. Those two have a tight playing together. Another special sound comes from the soprane sax of Nacho Casas. They are joined by folk musicians Carlos Iglesias on accordeon and Miguel Forneiro on gaita, accordeon marimba and keyboards and drummer Tino Mojón.

Although their appeal lies in the combination of Classical and folk music, the band tries to be a rock band, with light show and fog machine. At least in this solid Barock concert hall this made the whole performance a bit strange - especially as neither the music nor the performance goes too much in the direction of rock music. Maybe they should think once again about this approach - at least when they play in theatre style venues like this.

Obviously the band has had not too many live dates during the last time, as their playing together did not sound too smooth, by far not as tight and good as on their latest CD, "Habelas Hailas". This CD provided the programme for the concert, and by leaving out announcements, it was a real CD presentation, and not more - but also not less.

Amelia Muge; Press Photo The big bonus of this concert were the magic moments when Amélia Muge joined them to sing with her full, rich and powerful voice some Portuguese songs. Amélia was born in Mozambique, yet has lived a lot of her live in Portugal. Her singing style lies somewhere between Portuguese Folk and Fado music, added by influences from other music styles and places of the world. She has established a successful solo carreer, yet she still performs regularly with international bands.
With her natural and youthful stage appearance she has no problems to capture the audience with her deeply passionate songs - she is just the ideal performer, and Camerata Meiga worked also very well as her backing band.

Maybe this is just what the band itself is lacking: A focal point for the audience to look at. The music of Camerata Meiga is rich of ideas and has interesting and exciting arrangements, yet the stage performance did not work too well. And, let me say this one more criticism: How can you use the electric and boring sound of electric bagpipes, looking more like a hoover than a music instrument, instead of the beautiful sounding and beautiful looking traditional Galician gaita?

Nevertheless, it was a fine concert; this band could yet make much more of themselves with a better stage concept and some more live experiences. The ideas and the musical concept are very promising, as was their latest CD. It is enjoyable music with some really exciting edges...

One of the last numbers was "Adiós meu meniño, Adiós", sung beautifully by Amélia Muge (it seems to be in Spanish with clear Portuguese accent - although we do not know neither Spanish nor Portuguese). A wonderful song to take the audience away from the concert to the real night life which would start - as usual in Vigo - 2 hours later than the concert has finished, around 2 a.m. ...

The CD of Camerata Meiga, "Habelas Hailas", is highly recommended and came out on Resistencia.

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 6/2000

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