Half-Hour-Video about Nino Katamadze

Added: November 16, 2006 From: miratomov
Tbilisi Past Times:
Nino Katamadze: A voice to die for
Despite cultivating an artiste’s pretentiousness, Nino Katamadze has THE VOICE: it’s at turns powerful, spine-tingling, soft and swollen with emotion.


In vain I sought my loved one’s grave;

Despair plunged me in deepest woe.

Scarce holding back the sobs I cried:

“O where art thou, my Suliko?”

There was considerable chaos at the Royal District Theatre. The foyer didn’t seem spacious enough to provide for the large turnout н old, young, artists, critics, singers, fans and friends despite the 10, 15 and 20 Lari ticket prices.
The auditorium was as I remembered it from my previous and only visit. If anything, it was a little more dusty, but this is the kind of rough and ready place that real music demands. The walls are stone, the balcony and boxes have iron fretwork railings, including 19th-century-like lamp posts.
At last the band came on. Guitarist Gia No. 1 н with goatee and pony-tail, in white cardigan, leather cap and shades on top; guitarist Gia No. 2 н seated with beard and stripy jumper and bass guitarist Yucha all in black. “Insight” also had some additions: the bald, capped, well-known (in certain circles) Zaza from Zumba Land, who was guesting on tam-tams (and a strange round white object, which looked like a gourd or possibly a casserole dish). There was also an outsider drummer and two keyboardists, who added little to the proceedings. One of them was Nika Memanishvili, the composer who figured fairly large with Maka Asatiani of “Fashion Show in Pankisi” fame.
And so they began, playing a not very impressive set My companion remarked that they sounded like David Letterman’s back-up band; everyone was waiting for The Singer.
When Nino Katamadze did come on, it was almost unexpected. She came on with a leap. Turns out her leaping and jumping like a wood nymph is characteristic. But this doesn’t detract from her presence, and Nino is one of the most powerful personas you’re likely to see on stage. Wearing a smock with her thick, wavy, volumous hair she could have resembled Lady Macbeth. Katamadze is also an actress and comes across as a happier, hippier Janis Joplin with her dippy smiles and loopy remarks: “Thank you for your love”. But this slight artificiality pales into insignificance beside the Voice.
In the non-classical sphere, there isn’t such a Voice in Georgia. It defies definition. It’s at turns powerful, spine-tingling, soft and swollen with emotion. Katamadze becomes possessed when she sings – the Voice takes over the body. It was more than enough to fill the whole theatre and that over and above 3 electric guitars, 2 keyboards and 2 drum kits.
Her interpretations are inspired too. She does things with time and rhythm н slowing and stretching them out. She is deservedly well-known for her version of “Suliko”. This is urban folk and a traditional Georgian love song (Akaki Tsereteli’s verse set to music). It’s pretty but dull, until you’ve heard it sung by Katamadze. She turns the refrain: “O where art thou, my Suliko?” into more than just poignant. It’s a tragedy, torn from her very soul.
Her other famed cover is “Turpa” (Beautiful), another folk love song, which she saved until last. In between were a range of modern and other folk tunes, which she adjusted to suit her emotional style of performance н twisting and writhing in front of the microphone, tossing her mane, flapping her hands; shaking bells, something that looked and sounded like a seed packet and a tambourine (which reinforced the 60s Woodstock image).
Otherwise, she paced up and down like a wild thing, but being such a hypnotic presence she commands attention all of the time.
Despite being very young (mid 20s), Katamadze has already perfected an image of existentialism. In London, and on the BBC World Service recently (for the Georgian Days), she was asked by the not-very-brilliant presenter if she intended to travel.
“The world is round”, she said, “and I want to see all of it.” The rest of the interview was similarly pretentious (as is the group’s name н apparently she thinks it means “shining”), but all is forgiven as soon as she opens her mouth to sing.
There is none and nothing to match the performance or delivery of this girl from Batumi. And you’ll never be able to forget that Voice. It goes right through you.
I was quite emotionally drained by the end. I can only imagine how exhausted she must have been.
She doesn’t, as yet, have a recording out, so catch her when you can.
by Amy Spurling, April 2002

Uploaded on June 4, 2007 by exGrumbler

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