Global Divas

At the Bowl, vocalists delighted the audience, opened hearts & incited thinking

By Rosalba Ru
Published on LatinoLA: July 25, 2002

Global Divas

To achieve inner freedom we need to ?melt our walls of inhibitions.? It does sound like advice worth considering. Similar thought-provoking ideas were sprinkled all over the lyrics that Lauryn Hill sang for her audience at July 14th?s Global Divas III concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

Lauryn headlined this concert that is part of the KCRW World Festival series at the Bowl. World Festival concerts feature the best of music from all over the world, which was immediately evident at this show with the opening performance of singer Mariza.

As soon as Mariza set foot on stage, the crowd rose to life to then be mesmerized with the strong, yet sweet sound of her voice that seemed to be evoking the music goddesses. The Portugal-raised performer sings "fado", a classic Portuguese song form. Mariza?s powerful voice resonated throughout the Bowl, chanting melancholic pieces about the eternal recurring theme in all art forms: love as well as stories and legends from Portugal.

Following the fado icon, The Mahotella Queens hit the stage infusing energy and lifting spirits with their explosive mix of traditional African music. The group invented Mbaquanga, a musical potion that combines traditional African soundforms (Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa) with Marabi (South African Jazz) and American R&B, soul, and gospel. The invigorating rhythms inspired some to get up and dance, while the rest clapped to the beat of the music. The South African Queens danced energetically to their own music while creating unique harmonies with their voices.

After creating an atmosphere of celebration, the Mahotella Queens left the stage to give way to Lauryn Hill, who slightly altered the atmosphere to one of reflection.

The compelling vocalist performed an acoustic set of songs that expressed her vision of spirituality, society, and life. Although most of the time it was only Lauryn and her guitar up there, her presence filled the stage. Fans were not disappointed with the fact that she didn?t sing her popular hits. It seemed they appreciated that Lauryn was talking very directly to them, connecting with each individual person on a personal level. Her talent shone through her amazingly soulful voice and touching lyrics that invited us to reflect a little about ourselves.

Mariza?s debut album "Fado em mim", was released last April. Mariza is pictured.
The Mahotella Queens latest record "Sebai Bai" is on the Harmonia Mundi label. "MTV Unplugged No. 2" is Lauryn Hill?s latest album.

About Rosalba Ru:
Rosalba Ru?z is a LatinoLa correspondent.

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