vendredi 2 mai 2014

Chrysta Bell

March was a rather busy month in terms of cultural activities. One of the highlights was definitely the concert that Chrysta Bell gave in Barcelona. I discovered her via a friend of mine who told me something like "She's David Lynch's muse". Okay... I found out later that nearly everyone who mentions Chrysta Bell places that sentence at some point -no criticism here, I do it too now! You have to admit that this is the kind of sentence that can potentially arouse curiosity -only if you don't hate David Lynch, obviously. On the other hand, it doesn't say much about her own artistic skills or style as a musician and singer.

Let me break it to you then: I really loved that concert! I wasn't sure what to expect, to be honest. Sure, I had listened to her record and liked it a lot. But to me, it's the type of records that can also be really tricky to bring onto the stage. It is a very atmospheric, dreamy, cinematic record. Beautiful in so many ways: her voice, the arrangements, the slow pace, the sensuality, the melancholy. But not exactly the type of music that calls for a dynamic, energetic, interactive concert. Which is fine: you don't have to jump around or sing along every time you go to a concert. But this music requires a minimum of attention from the audience and if you don't add anything to the songs, it's easy for the audience to feel like they might as well have stayed home and listen to the album. If you do manage to spice up the songs though, bring some slight changes, a different arrangement, a bit of personality... then it can become one of those magical, transcendent moments.

That's exactly what happened when Chrysta Bell started to sing. She is truly fascinating. And she really is an amazing singer, with both impressive technical skills and some real capacity to convey a whole array of emotions. The songs played live sound great, some of them even greater than on the album. Some have a sound slightly more "rock". Others sound more bluesy -in particular the oh, so beautiful "Swing With Me", one of my favourites on the album. The musicians who accompany her on stage have to be acknowledged too. I guess I probably spent most of the concert in awe, in a way that hadn't happened to me in quite some time. But Chrysta Bell is one of these artists who can make that happen. There is definitely more to her than "hears the ear". There is more than these beautifully arranged songs. Her very presence on stage is a bit mysterious, a bit intimidating and extremely sensual. Her voice is both soft and powerful, dreamy and tortured. She transports you into a world filled with fantasies, anxieties, joy and despair closely and subtly intertwined...

And to give you a glimpse of that particular dreamy atmosphere that the whole concert was immersed into, here's a link to my video of "Swing With Me", the song with which Chrysta Bell ended her set. I left the venue feeling a little dazed, unsure if I really wanted to go back to the real world. 


If you don't know her and feel like you could easily get lost into this universe, I can only recommend you rush and listen to "This Train". Careful, though: Chrysta Bell' songs can leave you seriously addicted and wanting for more...

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