Several nights in the Tunnel

Posted by lec** on Friday, September 05 2008 @ 22:15:32 GMT        
Drinking beverages all day long in a café bar has never been my specialty, I leave that task to the other, significantly more experienced inhabitants of my hometown Rijeka, and the whole of Croatia in general. It's a well known fact Croatians somehow manage to qualify as employed while spending what could well be the best part of the day sipping coffee in one of the countless café bars here (such facilities being outnumbered only by shops selling expensive clothing and handbags). It might be a remnant of the socialist mindset; otherwise, it's hard to explain exactly how this is feasible.

Monica Stadler
Monica Stadler in the Jazz Tunnel, July 18th
Well never mind that, I've strayed from the main topic in the first paragraph already. As I've said, I don't engage in the same hobby as the majority of my friends: instead I usually find something equally unproductive to do. But recently, I visited a café bar called "Jazz Tunnel" in Rijeka, in which a concert was being held by Monica Stadler, a fantastic Austrian jazz harpist, on the 18th of July. Already having had the privilege of hearing her play at the annual "Hal's All-Star Guitar Festival", a manifestation attended probably by some of the most impressive contemporary guitarists (yeah, a harp player was present; she was too good not to be in the program), I immediately resolved to attend, and my friend (on this site known as Kthar) also was going to be attending. That night was really quite memorable, since her performance was as immaculate as before. Anyway, she attracted quite a crowd, so we had to lean by the bar. The Jazz Tunnel isn't that big, as "café bar" might indicate, but I can't say I was expecting to find so many people packed in there (the fact that she's a harpist might have been what piqued their interest).

In any western country, the existence of jazz bars and clubs is trivial, though here in Croatia, where the most popular music at bars is "narodnjaci" (a kind of Turkish-influenced folk, usually imported from our neighbouring Serbia, and Croatia's own pathetic "domestic" music (a.k.a. "domaća glazba") - both being genres that make me immediately contract various illnesses upon hearing only a few seconds worth - the existence of a jazz bar in a bordering town of no significance whatsoever (there's Zagreb, the capital. No other cities exist, according to Zagreb's inhabitants) is hardly short of miraculous. Oh dear, my sarcasm detector just started beeping, so I'll have to move back on topic. I was pleasantly surprised that there was such a bar not far from my place of residence, so I took advantage of three musical manifestations that took place there this summer. Monica Stadler, was of course the first. Second was a man called Dražen Franolić, a Croatian musician who played an Oud (Arabic: عود [ʿūd], Persian: بربط[barbat]), a lute-like middle-eastern instrument, accompanied by Indian musician Nimai Roy on the Tabla (a kind of drum). Though their performance was unusual for the ears of people not accustomed to this type of music (me being one of them), I found their performance to be enjoyable and authentic, and not boring in any way whatsoever.
Dražen Franolić & Nimai Roy, August 6th

Franolić and Roy were present on the 6th of August. Two days later, on Friday, Austrian classical guitarist and composer Michael Langer, another attendee of Hal's Guitar fest, made his appearance accompanied by Sabine Ramusch. Their performance was excellent, also highly enjoyable, though the audience was not very attentive and so failed to recognise their quality, which they obviously noticed. However, I'm very glad I was their to hear their playing, as well as witness Langer's legendary guitar tuning, which, analogous to speaking old Entish, takes a very long time. Not without purpose though, for the composition he plays immediately afterwards is perfect, played on a guitar that has been so immaculately tuned.

I dropped in for a beer today (as it was swelteringly hot, and insufferably damp in the city) again with Kthar, after we failed (after investing a good 4 hours) to acquire the necessary documents to be able to acquire a necessary document to be able to acquire an absolutely compulsory document to get our paychecks. (sigh, bureaucracy...)

Anyway, if some unlikely window of opportunity pops up involving you visiting Rijeka, now you know where to go for a drink. They have jazz piano on Mondays and some other day; free jazz bands on Wednesdays (it would be prudent to exercise some caution when planning on listening to this very hermetic music). Also they always have little laminated cards on the tables listing which musicians will be present on which nights. Finally, you'd have the perfect opportunity to cast a glance over to the piano on the little stage they've got, on which stands a little black lamp, which is a pure concentrate of the evil in the universe. It is the Apocalyptic Lamp, the one and only. Though I've so far been unable to obtain photographs, I will make them available as soon as I succeed in my endeavour.

Kthar's avatar
Sep 06 2008 @ 21:55:39
Mmmmhhhmm....We'll go get the photos of the evil-looking evil lamp as soon as we can (read: monday). Electron has discovered its brethren and sisters. All of them being a concentration of pure-all-evil-of-the-universe.
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