The first time when I heard her live was in March this year, when it was still cold outside and her African spirit warmed me up more than a cup of coffee. Though she jokingly presented herself as a musician from Iceland, on Monday when Carmen was in London again, it was sunny and warm, and i think, she just brought the African sun with her.
Playing the songs from her latest album “Protegid” (Protected) she re-established and illuminated a natural bond between jazz, Latino, Cuban, African rhythms. Moreover, she has a voice and spirit which allow her to establish these connections and easily play with them.
As a special surprise of this gig was a song Sous Le Ciel de Paris. Though you would most likely associate this song with Edith Piaf or Mireille Mathieu, Carmen did it in her own very particular way. Gentleness, softness and as well as playful improvisations created her interpretation extremely refreshing.
Having Horace Silver as one of her most important inspirations, she has included in her album his song “Song for my father” which was played also on Monday night. I dare to say that this is one of the best versions of this song i Have ever heard.
Carmen was not just performing. She was trying hard to engage with public, making them sing along and SMILE! She believes – if you smile, skies will smile to you too!