All the energy that Ala Malikian displayed last Friday night in the main hall of the Eduardo Brito National Theater left the impression that he exceeded his utopian promise exposed at the beginning of the concert: “I will play for 28 hours and 33 minutes and until I tire your arms.”
The Lebanese violinist of Armenian descent captivated a select audience from the first chords that enjoyed his music and the anecdotes that have marked his life since childhood, due to the adverse circumstances he lived in his native country due to the civil war.
“Good evening, thank you very much for being here, in this wonderful theater. I really wanted to play for you,” said the award-winning violinist in fluent Spanish, who revealed that his second musical theme of the night was composed in honor of his immigrant grandparents, but christened it “Dominican Rhapsody.”
From that moment on, Malikian, who has played in the most prestigious concert halls on five continents, combined pure adrenaline on stage with anecdotes from his life and his musical career.
He took time to explain how each of the compositions he played accompanied by four Cuban musicians, whom he met 30 years ago on a visit to the Caribbean island, came to be.
The outgoing musician exuded intensity, talent and a jocularity on stage that connected with the audience during the two hours of his concert.
His “punk” style – unkempt afro hair, tattooed arms, a vest and pants in the style of the 60s – set him apart from the sober style that great violinists display on stage, to the point that at times the public doubted if the protagonist of the night was the musician or the instrument.
Malikian moves non-stop on stage, jumping and lying on the stage, but without letting go caressing and most of the time attacking the strings of his violin.
He played songs dedicated to his grandparents, his mother, his sisters and his son Kairo.
Of the latter, he confessed that he was the source of inspiration for all the songs he composed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He recalled that his son Kairo is fascinated by squids and on one occasion asked him what a “robotic squid” would sound like, the name of a composition as intense as his performance on stage when performing it.
In “Aliens Office”, composed in London after going to an immigration office, he seemed to convey with a plaintive entry all the pain of the immigrant who is far from his homeland and in the second part of the song the troubles of the drama of migrations .
“The world belongs to no one,” he exclaimed about his hope that in the future people will be able to travel anywhere without restrictions.
He began what would be his last installment of the night by touching the strings of his violin with his fingers, but shouting “another”, “another”, he added two more songs to the repertoire.
Appealing again to jocularity, he exposed to the public that was reluctant to let him leave the stage the need to conclude the concert, because his wife sent a message to the theater doorman on WhatsApp that said “Come back now.”
His closing theme titled “Nana” was dedicated to all the people who faced and even died alone after contracting Covid-19, due to the isolation and fears generated by the pandemic.
“A lullaby would have been excellent company at that time,” he said as he played the only composition in which he was calm and sober, like those traditional violinists who are the antithesis of his atypical performance on stage.