Which language sounds the most beautiful through poetry?
Any language, in fact, sounds beautiful if the poetry is clear and deep, when it flows. Like water. Some waters are more rough than others, and that's where I rather find myself, so I will say that for me all those sonically dramatic languages, like Portuguese, Turkish, Polish, Serbian-Croatian, Japanese, Icelandic, Farsi, Gaelic, French and a few more, sound convincing. Over the years, I find it increasingly difficult to answer such questions, because there are many scripts that grew attached to my heart. If I have to choose, may it be – Farsi language (Iran).
You communicate in eight languages. What language that you already sing in would you like to master next?
Every knowledge requires updates, and when you keep a lot of things in your head, it is most likely that some knowledge will fade if it is not used regularly. So I mainly deal with making sure that these few languages that I already speak don't vanish from my memory. Nevertheless, in addition to Romance, Germanic, Slavic and Turkish languages, I would like to start a new language tree. It is about time to learn that Japanese once for all.
Is there something that all nations have in common when it comes to music?
Pathos. Regardless of the topic that is covered in the song; be it personal or mass suffering, social injustice, pride or, ultimately, love. And that is what is sung about by every nation.
You have lived in many countries, which country is the most inspiring for art?
Which one would you like to stay in forever?
There is no such a thing like "the most inspiring country", there is only our inner state. Some places are capable of supporting certain states of the soul, so the soul can express itself there more easily. Not only artistically. I am carried by some dreamful vision of mine that I can be who I am everywhere (as long as I don't offend certain customs of the hosts!), so I don't bother much with the landscapes around me, I am inspired by - completely irrelevant to this world - details. However, I feel good next to the water. Or in the east. Of any country. I would stay forever somewhere by the water - possibly on an island.
How does the local audience work for you? Is it open for your creativity?
The local crowd is decent. At least it was at my last concert. Earlier, I used to experience even discomfort. There are always and everywhere narrow-minded people, people who don't find it appropriate to listen to me singing the songs of some other people that they loathe. Fortunately, I don't look back at it much. There are always at least a dozen pairs of ears in the audience who really travel with me. There is a wonderful world out there, regardless of the ability to understand everything I sing or talk about. I love when I see children and old people in the audience. Moreover, I like to know that there are also connoisseurs. Both musicologists and historians.
Of all the performances so far, which is your favorite and why?
There were wonderful experiences, wonderful collaborations. Although, for the most part, I performed the most important concerts all by myself. However, I fondly remember a concert at which I was a guest, together with the great Luís Guerreiro, some eleven years ago at the "Sava" Centre in Belgrade. And I remember that event, because that was the first time I officially received confirmation of the quality of my interpretation of fado music, precisely from him. Later, perhaps even more important events took place, but for this occasion I single out that one.
You are an authentic artist, especially in our climate. Did you have any role models and who were they?
I would say that I am just being myself, very simple in my actions - I listen to my heart, and then others hear it, too. Those of my kind are called authentic today. Once upon a time "artist" was enough. I do not favour anyone, but I learn from many sources. I mostly listen to the musicians who have passed away, but none of them is really dead, because they left living treasures behind.
How much has the pandemic affected you as an artist? Did it reduce your productivity or did you discover some new depths?
The pandemic, or whatever, pinned me in place, cut off my path, as many around me experienced, too.
It did not significantly harm me as an artist, but as a living and economic person it did. I live from my work, just like a shoemaker or a mechanical engineer.
Who would Asya be if she didn't play music?
A cook. I would be a chef in charitable institutions. I love cuisine. And the kitchen area. I would say that I am as colourful in that field as in music. As I love to eat, even though it doesn't show, it would be a great occupation.
What are your plans for the future? What is the next destination?
I make no plans long since, they usually get barren, but I stick to a few principles of mine by which I will continue to act in accordance with the given situation. I am always creating something, so when there are conditions - I will publish some work. I'm sure I will be travelling again, so I'll think about that when the cage opens. There are circled places on my map, but I would leave that to myself.
Interviewed for M:agazin by: Aleksandra Škrbić