Not long ago, I organized a party that some fellow singers came to after a performance in Salzburg. If you are lucky enough that it isn’t raining, the weather can be beautiful in Salzburg, and this was one of those sultry summer evenings. The barbecue worked well, the beer and wine flowed. A few Russian and Ukrainian singers had come and brought their own bottle of vodka. It wasn’t long before they finished it and went on to beer.
It was a long night. At about two, when just a small group was left, the singing finally began. (It takes a while before a singer will spontaneously break out in song. If you ask a professional singer to “Sing something for us”, you’re not likely to get your wish. It must be some sort of professional deformity.) First came the national anthems. Then the Ukrainian singer began to sing – with full voice and total devotion - other folk songs from his country, and soon his wife joined in. Everyone sat in silence, listening.
The melancholy of the music took hold of the listeners and even the singer himself. Maybe it had to do with the feeling of nostalgia that singing folk songs evokes, the feeling that you belong somewhere? Or maybe it
was the straightfoward and simple presentation of the songs. In any case, they fitted in perfectly – in the wee hours of the morning and with empty bottles surrounding us.