Dedicated to Asian dance and music. Keeping the arts communities informed, connected and energised. Highlighting hot spots of creativity and cutting-edge practise, making these ancient art forms ever relevant and refreshed.
Ken Hunt despairs at the ‘new’ audiences but then Raviji manages to ‘put a smile on his face’ at the maestro’s Barbican concert this summer, on 21st June 2011. Image Courtesy The Barbican
Let’s begin with a confession. Let’s lay some cards on the table. Attending every Ravi Shankar concert had no longer been a must. The reasons for that were complex and varied. For one, the audience had changed. The new audiences were no longer the community of faces at a Bhimsen Joshi, Vilayat Khan, Ali Akbar Khan or Alla Rakha recital. People were increasingly clapping to congratulate themselves on recognising a taal (rhythm cycle) finishing. Snobbish moi? You bet. The subtitles were plain.
The Jazz Cafe Camden, London
The Bristol, UK-based Asian Arts Agency’s announcement that Kiran Ahluwalia was making her London concert debut at long last was a cause of genuine excitement. Since the Toronto-based singer released Kashish – Attraction, her 2001 recording debut of ghazal and Punjabi folk songs, she has been to be a talent to follow. A whole stream of traditional, modern and cosmopolitan influences has shaped her music and musical mind.
As part of Darbar Festival 2012
Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre
Image Credit: Daniel M Neuman
The previous afternoon Swapan Chaudhuri, the tabla player of choice for the sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009) in his last years, delivered an exquisite solo tabla concert – with harmonium providing melodic support to rhythm instrument in the accompaniment reversal known as lehara. Shujaat Khan sat in the first row dead centre in front of Swapan Chaudhuri. It was a rapturous and educative recital – and it must have fed Shujaat Khan’s mind with possibilities for their Sunday morning duet.
Ken Hunt reviews Saregama's eighteen-CD retrospective on the recordings of Santoor maestro Shivkumar Sharma
Saregama holds the largest and plainly the most mouth-watering archive of recorded music of any of the subcontinent’s record companies. This 18-CD career retrospective from the santoor virtuoso Shivkumar Sharma illustrates that proposition. It begins in 1955 with ‘Santoor 2’ and ‘Santoor 1’ (yes, that order) and ends in 1998 with ‘Indrahanush’ and his budding santoor-maestro son Rahul.