Brno said goodbye on Sunday to Marta Kubišová. This made it the first city in the Czech part of the Marta Naposledy (Marta One Last Time) tour. It will end in České Budějovice on her 75th birthday. The Sono Centre, full to bursting, could enjoy not only a cross-section of her musical career but also a tribute to American pop music, given in her latest album “Soul”. As it has been for the last nineteen years she was accompanied on her final tour by Petr Malásek (keyboard) and a band made up of Martin Lehký (double bass), Budy Zbořil (drums), Josef Štěpánek (guitar) and František Kop (saxophone).
The first part of the evening focused on a retrospective. The first song started up on a positive note and the feeling of “Paradise has to be Somewhere”. Right at the beginning of the second, Marta Kubišová didn’t hesitate to mention her many years of cooperation with Petr Malásek. “Sorry Pete, I forgot to tell all of you that my recitals were put together for all these nineteen years by him. He also said that you wanted to hear all these old and obsolete songs, and that they have to be included”. And with an unprecedented willingness she continued to sing well known songs such as Ring o ding, Depeše (Dispatch) or Nechte zvony znít (Let the Bells Ring Out). All of this, sung almost in one breath, was followed by a memento of the first collective recital in Ungelt and the song Nechci být ta druhá (I Don’t Want to be the Other One). Before the instrumental break she sung Teď (Now) and with it another recollection of the poems, texts and personality of Jan Schneider.
Marta Kubišová is a brilliant singer with a magical voice, which is an obvious fact in and of itself. This knowledge however isn’t always enough. She is also a singer-songwriter in the proper sense of the term. Her experience and the way she presents her texts is bound to have an effect on even the most hardened souls. The way she is able to use her voice and tell all the stories makes her a unique figure, and not only in the field of popular music. And all of us should continue to remind ourselves of her songs and the meaning behind them, since they are still relevant and “we live now, not sometime later”.
And so the audience could let itself be carried away after the break by the more melancholy part of the concert, consisting of (with a few exceptions) a half-and-half mix of songs from the first and last albums. The album Soul came out in 2016 and Marta Kubišová chose American pop hits music that she hadn’t used yet in her albums. Some songs were also taken from the legendary album Songy a balady (Songs and Ballads), which has had several re-issues, including vinyl this time. After some reflection following the song Mamá (Mummy), everyone was taken a bit by surprise with the rhythmic Nepiš dál (Write No More) and the famous rendition of Hey Jude told us the concert was coming to an end. Moved audience members with flowers began to appear and the protagonist wasn’t given a chance to leave the podium. She shared the emotional moment with all the participants and then gave her much loved encores. But not even Magdaléna and Modlitba pro Martu (Prayer for Marta) could calm the audience and they got what they wanted - Hey Jude for a second time, which everyone sang along to.
Marta Kubišová wanted to leave without having people feel sorry for her, to leave and have herself remembered as a living person. And that she succeeded in doing. A certain bittersweet nostalgia over the end of a great career couldn’t be avoided after 22 songs. But everyone leaving the concert left feeling that the singer deserved her musical retirement. The voice is after all a very fragile instrument and Marta Kubišová has judged the moment well and left with true grace.