Friday, January 15, 2010

Last Sunday: ASC and I head to Vortex to hear renditions of Arabic and Sephardic jazz. Real discovery of the evening is Orquestra Mahatma, described here as one of British jazz's quirkiest groups. A combination of Latin, East European and Middle Eastern sounds. Like an evening at Barden's Boudoir that I once described as everything from Bulgaria to Baghdad (the former Ottoman empire - not inappropriate to Dalston) except all from one group. Spell-binding stage chemistry. Three utterly different individuals completely in synch with one another. Percussionist Paul Clarvis enjoys himself so much, cannot stop smiling, like a kid who's just discovered a trick and can't stop doing it. Violinist Sonia Slany (younger version of Helen Mirren) is the serious one and coaxes a sound out of her instrument that is so deep, I had to stare to make sure it was not a viola. Stuart Hall, on strings of various kinds, deadpan some of the time and really getting into it as the evening progressed. I really wanted to buy their CDs, but they didn't seem to have any around with these three performing, so am holding off till I can find 'em elsewhere. Not sure what the name's about. Reminded me of the samba school in Rio called Filhos de Gandhy - at carnival, they troop out in white clothes, bejewelled turbans and, um, tambourines and everything else that a good batteria needs. Gandhi was very visual (the clothes or lack thereof, the massive numbers, Dandi and the fistful of salt raised from the sea, charkha spinning) but he wasn't big on sound (apart from the speeches of course). On the contrary, all those fasts and days of silence suggested the very disavowal of sound. I'm amused by the noise he's inspired.

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