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Interview :Vladimir Vasilevski-Chetkar Jazz Musician

20 February, 21:19
Interview :Vladimir Vasilevski-Chetkar Jazz Musician

Skopje, January 2014

Vladimir Vasilevski – Chetkar, born in Ohrid, living and working in New York, is one of the most perspective home jazz musicians and has performed in many jazz clubs around the world where many famous jazz and blues artists have performed as well. Great people such as George Benson, Jamiroquai, Bjork, Mark Pomeroy, etc. have recognized his music production as world-class.

Chetkar was the first Macedonian to perform at the Iridium club in Broadway, New York, three years ago, with performances in many other clubs in the meantime. On 22nd November, before the great American holiday, Thanksgiving Day, he had a concert in the Macedonian Embassy in Washington and was joined by bass player Marc Blackwood and drummer Nathaniel Graham. Among the guests, who included representatives of both Senate and Congress, the business community and diplomatic core, were also former US ambassadors in Macedonia, Phillip Reeker and Lawrence Butler. 

In his interview with MIA, Chetkar speaks about his engagements in and around the “Big Apple”, his performances in “Blue Note” in New York and “Aquarius” in Ohrid, present and future plans, as well as everything that is related to his work. 

Where does it feel more like home – returning to your apartment in New York after a gig or coming home, in Ohrid?

Ohrid is my true home and that feeling is incomparable. Even though I consider the whole planet to be my home, Macedonia would be the living room in that home with a beautiful fire place where I would share the best moments with my dearest people.

How long have you been in USA, how and why did you decide to go there?

I went there because of the music studies at the Berkeley College in 1996 and I have been living there since then. When I left, there were no conditions for learning jazz and modern music in Macedonia and the neighbourhood. The closest place where I could audition for Berkeley at the time was Perugia, Italy. I performed two pieces – guitar solos from Joe Pass and George Benson with my own transcription and harmonization, and I also performed “Jovano, Jovanke”, which I arranged for guitar. After the successful audition, I decided to go to Boston with the great support from my family.

Do you think you made the right choice to make your music career in America?

Back then and now, too, there is no better place in the world for someone to learn the secrets of jazz, funk and soul music better and more authentically than in America, the place where those music styles were created. Of course, I also try to be present in Macedonia and regularly present my music because my audience is equally important to me everywhere and my musical mission is to always improve and create sophisticated music products without the burden of the current trends.

Can you compare how the success of a musician is measured in USA and here? Where do you feel more successful?

I feel great wherever I am because I have great confidence in me and my choices. Looking back, I can say that I have played at some of the most prestigious music stages, clubs and festivals in New York, Los Angeles, London, Boston, Washington, Budapest, etc. I have shared the stage, cooperated with, and received great reviews from my biggest idols, and my music has caught the attention of many music critiques and radio stations across the globe. But, at the same time, I feel like a child that has just started to move forward and the most important thing is that I still feel the same enthusiasm, energy and love for the music as I did when I first started playing the guitar.

Tell us about the hardest and the most beautiful times in your career?

The music industry is currently in crisis, there are constant turbulences and the way of working is constantly changing. It really is a challenge to manage among all the chaos and get the recognition for your music. The most beautiful moments come if you are strongly determined to persist. One of the most beautiful moments for me is when, after going through a lot of trouble in the creation process, I manage to produce author music with so much love that will even inspire the great music veterans that used to be my inspiration.

What are you currently working and what were your engagements over the last period?

This is the most exciting period of my career because with the latest materials that I recently produced, I am on the verge of signing an album contract for one of the biggest world music markets. That is why I was recording a video in New York over the last few days, with the globally popular DJ and produced, Dimitri from Paris as my guest. 

Where do you perform the most in America and in Macedonia?

Well, I perform at many different places, but if I have to choose my favourites, I would say “Blue Note” in New York and “Aquarius” in Ohrid.

What does it take for a complete success in America? Can you say that you are successful in that environment over there?

There is no rule for a complete success. It varies depending on the needs, possibilities and circumstances. I travel constantly, but I know where I come from and I like that. My life is full of excitement and adventures, I work what I love the most, I move forward in my career and meet great people.

Have you cooperated with some well-known names in the music industry?

I have cooperated with several famous names, such as Dimitri from Paris, Jestofunk, Tom Moulton, Bob Esti (producer of Cher, Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand), etc. It is all great, but my priority remains to make a name for myself with my music, my talent and my passion.

What are your plans and wishes for the future?

I wish good health for everybody, primarily, and with a bit a responsibility we will have many more successes to share with our loved ones.

Dragica Hristova  

source: МИА

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