Remember the line from the Barrett Strong´s song “the best things in life are free”? Well, I have news for you – in this case it’s true. The best thing you can do tonight is to just stroll through the city and check out the performance of Nadia Basurto, Spanish born vocalist that is starting her jazz singing career, after recently graduating from Royal Conservatorium. The first time I heard her voice was in this little smoky bar called De Kikker or La Grenouille in Molenstraat that looked and smelled like New Orleans few decades ago. At least that’s how New Orleans looks, sounds and smells in my mind.
Nadia was working behind the bar and then all of a sudden decided to take the microphone. And there was the voice. It was no summertime, but living was certainly easy. Note after note, we were taken into the landscape of American South… How does one produce this sound, I wondered. And then I got the answers I was searching for.
MP: What is your favorite vocal exercise?
NB: It is difficult to choose just one. You are producing the sound VVVVVVVV, glissando way, in octaves c to C and d to D. Your lips and facial muscles move and it enables deep breathing.
MP: Octatonic, Heptatonic, Hexatonic, Pentatonic, Tetratonic, Tritonic, Ditonic, Prehistoric, Monotonic. Out of all these scales – which one would you choose?
NB: Octatonic definitely, it’s complex and fun. There’s another one I like but… you asked just for one.
MP: This is the way Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the Pentatonic Scale
Did you ever try to do it with the audience?
NB: I was the audience that did it once and would definitely do it with a big crowd. Why not!
MP: Let’s take the notes of the major scale and give them some description. If C is for Crowd, D is for Duet and E is for Ever – what do F, G, A, H (or B) and C stand for?
NB: F for Fun! G for Goosebumps, A for Artistry, B for Bipolar and C again for Commitment.
MP: Guitar or Piano?
NB: Piano, because it is complete and versatile just like the guitar actually. Still, piano can bring the sounds of water and calmth, stress and fire. When it comes to up tempos, you can swing it like hell!
MP: Jazz or Pop? Standards or originals?
NB: Jazz! You can improvise and twist the sound, make a new song out while improvising adding your own flavor and specific vocabulary to the classics. I´m choosing unknown standards but I sing originals as well!
MP: Think of a song and tell me the lyrics!
NB: So love me tonight, tomorrow was made for some, tomorrow may never come for all we know.
MP: Do you remember the exact moment you decided to become a singer?
NB: Well, I think I never took the decision. What happened is that I was always singing and felt good about it, wrote songs and participated in the school choir and then some close friends encouraged me and… from there on everything happened by itself. The path was sometimes easy, sometimes hard but it was always clear where I´m heading.
MP: And if you weren’t a jazz singer what would you be?
NB: I would do something related to words and language; I would be a translator, interpreter or journalist.
MP: Singing in the rain or singing in the sun?
NB: Sun!!! I am Mediterranean!
MP: So where do you come from? Why did you choose The Hague?
NB: I am from Spain, from Cubelles, a little coastal village near Barcelona. I came to The Hague to study. A friend of mine, who was a teacher at the Conservatory recommended the school and told me I would be well accepted. I tried, moved, and here I am. Living here is nice, easy, comfortable, the city is small so spending time here is cozy. People I hang out with are international and Dutch, they come from different backgrounds and it was easy to meet them, while I was doing my job as a bar tender or simply by singing, going to clubs and festivals.
MP: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
NB: NO big expectations: I see myself happy, WHERE ever I want to be.
MP: Imagine this situation: Your friends from Barcelona are coming to The Hague for a weekend. Their train from Schiphol arrives at Central station at 19:43. What are you going to do this weekend?
NB: First I pick them up, we go for a simple dinner, maybe in Vapiano, and then relax a bit with a beer and live music in De Kikker. Next morning we get bikes and head towards the beach, taking the route next to the Peace Palace. Then we turn left towards Duindorp, all the way to Kijkduin, through the dunes. On the way back, we bike through Laan Van Meerdervort, stop at the market to get some fish for dinner and make a stop at Grapes and Olives, to enjoy some wine and snacks. We will take a walk in the center, through small and charming streets Koninginnetuin, Prinsestraat, Molenstraat, Oudemolstraat, Papestraat, Noordeinde, all the way to my place where we will prepare the fish. In the evening we will check if there is something going on in Paard Café or Supermarkt. Or we will get a beer in few bars until we find something cool happening… And then Sunday, time for Escher Museum and lunch in Het Plein. We have to part now as they will be late for their plane at Schiphol!
Nadia is singing tonight some of your favorite songs from Porter, Gershwin, Jobim or Caymi with Dimitris Verdinoglou on piano, Noa Stroeter on double-bass and Jimi Hueting on drums.
Jazzbodega Est Est Est, Wagenstraat 144, Saturday 6 April, 9:30pm. See you there!