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Interview with jazz singer Irina Sârbu

Tuesday, 14 March 2023 , ora 13.49

"Music of a past Bucharest" is the title of the concert proposed by "Camerata Regală" for Wednesday, the 15th of March. The event will take place at the Romanian Athenaeum and it will be composed of two performances, from 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. respectively, with the jazz singer Irina Sârbu as the soloist. She spoke to us about this collaboration in a dialogue with Ioana Țintea.

Irina Sârbu, on Wednesday, the 15th of March, you will be the soloist of the concert entitled "Music of a past Bucharest". What thoughts go through your mind as you are waiting for the return to the stage of the Romanian Athenaeum, together with the conductor Constantin Grigore and "Camerata Regală"?

Spring thoughts. I love this project very much and I am glad that we are resuming it on the stage of the Athenaeum. I also performed it last year, also on the eve of spring. Back then it was very successful. It seems that the music of a past Bucharest is still loved and appreciated by the Bucharest audience and not only them.

So, I'm glad to be back. This time, "Camerata Regală" will be conducted by maestro Constantin Grigore. Last year, we had maestro Radu Popa at the rostrum. All arrangements were done by Ioan Dobrinescu. And... we are excitedly waiting for the audience to remember songs like "Violete pentru fete", "Coșarul" or "Toată ziua-n ascensor" and, of course, the hits of the time, "Zaraza" and "Iubesc femeia".

What was the criteria you used in selecting the pieces to perform?

First of all, we wanted them to besongsvery dear to us, songs that we like, songs that are well-known to the public, so that we can sing them together in the Athenaeum hall.

What does the music of a past Bucharest look like from the perspective of a jazz singer, and what challenges could the approach to such a repertoire bring?

What's really cool, and what actually connects all genres of music in my view, is the story. Jazz tells beautiful stories, the same goes for interwar music - stories of love, stories of longing, stories of fulfilled or unfulfilled love... So, for me it is always a challenge to tell stories, stories that I have known since I was small, but adjusted to a sort of music so beautiful and so familiar to the public.

After the concert on the 15th of March, at the Romanian Athenaeum, what plans does your agenda include for the next period?

I am happy to announce another important concert for me, on the 6th of April. I will perform together with the Radio Big Band at the Radio Hall. I'm celebrating the 20th anniversary of my career as a jazz soloist. So it's a very important concert that I'm looking forward to. It's a round number. That's the name of the concert, "20", on the 6th of April, at Sala Radio. And it is important to mention that on the 15th of March there will be two concerts. Because the one at 7:30 p.m. has already been sold out for over a month, we decided to do another concert at 5:00 p.m., also at the Athenaeum, also "Music of a past Bucharest".

So, whoever didn't get a ticket for 7:30 p.m., we are waiting for you at 5:00 p.m., at the Athenaeum, with love!

Photo credit: Ioan Stoica

Interview by Ioana Țintea
Translated by Cristina-Bianca Ion,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu