In The Netherlands it is almost 2 a.m. and yet Amina Figarova is bursting with energy and she wants to talk.
Even better: she wants to talk to someone from the Yukon.
“How is it up there?” she asks, straining to offer silence to allow an answer.
She apologizes, saying she just came from a gig in a small club, backing up a singer, and the “adrenaline is really up and here I am talking to you from Whitehorse!”
A gifted pianist who started playing at the age of two and then became classically trained, Figarova turned to the free flowing jazz “because it is the only music I can really express myself,” she says.
“To me, it is like second nature, you do it before you think.
“When I was little, I never played the same thing twice.”
It was also a return to her roots, listening to her mother’s American Jazz even though they lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain in Azerbaijan. But she is glad to say that Russian Jazz is becoming very popular.
Figarova will be expressing herself, communicating musically, at the Yukon Arts Centre on April 28.
The words (music) come to the prolific composer through various influences and experiences.
One such experience, Sept. 11, touched her deeply and so she wrote and produced a CD, September Suite.
“It is a tribute to mourning,” she says. “I was in New York on Sept. 11 and I went back home in deep shock, shattered inside. But it wasn’t the buildings falling down, it was the people, close family and friends and the process became the issue.”
Once, after a performance, Figarova was told by someone that they found the pieces from September Suite to be quiet and peaceful. “Well, that comes from mourning,” she says.
It is this kind of dialogue after her shows that helps her know her audience and its point of view: “The concert is one thing, but after the playing this is the most exciting and most important part.”
Figarova’s performance, a presentation of YAC and Jazz Yukon, will be April 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the YAC Box Office and Arts Underground.