Gigs, dance, art

May 29th, 2010: Music from Central Asia


I ended up on the very last row way up next to the ceiling, so I couldn’t really see what Ustad Johndar Shah was bowing, but it had a rectangular body — metal? — and the way he turning it on its bottom spike reminded me a little of the Persian Kamancheh, though he’s from the Afghan Badakhshan. He had two daf players but what mattered was his play and the nice sound of this instrument, simple but rich enough in the hands of a skilled performer. Too bad the set was so short. I thought he would come back later, but he didn’t.

The second part was longer and featured two musicians from Pakistan, Aftab Alam on setar and Mohammad Wali on jerrycan. Yes, an actual one laid on the floor and played as a percussion instrument, and a nice one with a range of sounds depending on the part of the hand and instrument that came in contact. The setar has some range of sounds too, and the most percussive plucking was a nice match to the highest sounds from the jerrycan.

The ensemble from the Tajik Badakhshan played the longest by far and that was my favorite set, in part for the diverse instruments: Mukhtor Muborakamadov played setar, Gulomsho Safarov played rubab, Shodikhon Mabatkulov and sometimes Sahibe Davlatshoeva played daf, and Aqnazar Alovatov played a plucked string instrument I didn’t recognize, in addition to singing. The songs were varied, with some accelerating along the way, which was nice. I wonder if the acoustics were skewed where I was seating, but Alovatov’s voice had a peculiar and great sound reminding me a little of buzzing overtones at times, though it’s not really that at all. But the best for me was Sahibe Davlatshoeva’s voice, higher but with the same weird raspy quality, and that sounded even better. She danced a little at the end, but the voice alone was more than enough, I was hooked from the first song.


June 1, 2010 - Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , ,

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