Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sizero Tablas wow Fez

In what was one of the best concerts of the Fez Festival so far, the Sizero Tabla Experience gave a superb performance of contemporary Indian music.

Vijay Ghate

Pandit Vijay Ghate and his ensemble take the ancient musical traditions of the Rajput maharajahs and Mughal nabobs and sweep them electrifyingly into our time. Originally from Jabalpur, Ghate is a tabla master who has studied under some impressive teachers, among them Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia who woke us this morning with his bansuri flute.

Niladri Kumar and Vijay Ghate

For this concert, Ghate teamed up with Niladri Kumar, one of the most innovative young sitar players who also plays an electrified sitar, called a zitar. Taalis was on drums, Agnelo Fernandes on keyboard, and the superb singer was Abhisheki Shounak.

Two kathak dancers, Sheetal Kolwalkar and Kaveri Sageder (pictured above), graced the stage - their first dance sedate in the original style; their second a modern rendition of kathak dance with chakkarwala tukra (twirling) and an interlude of their impressive foot movements echoing the tablas (bol), with their ghunghru (ankle bells) providing the percussion.

Arriving on stage after the first few numbers was the celebrated Talvin Singh from London (pictured below), whose expertise on tablas and electronic tabla matched that of Vijay Ghate. Singh has worked with performers such as Bjork, Future Sound of London and Siouxsie and the Banshees, and started the Anokha Club in London.

The staging was superb - in particular the stunning lighting effects and the excellent use of the sidescreen. For the first time in this festival, the screen was used with intelligence, the performance being screened over other video material. Those in the audience who have attended many festivals were reawoken to the fact that the material presented at the Fez Festival is remarkable in its effort to showcase other cultures, and also reminded that Bab al Makina is an extraordinary venue.

To see all the Fez Festival 2010 stories from Morocco, on The View from Fez, click HERE!

16h00 at the Batha Museum: the Dhafer Youssef quartet from Tunisia
20h30 at Bab al Makina: The great voices of Aleppo: Sheikh Habboush, Mustafa Hilal, Ahmad Azrak and Safwan Abid ... and maybe Sabah Fakhri (see our previous story)

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