Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Ghazal Ensemble

Last night SB and I heard at Zankel Hall at Carnegie the Ghazal Ensemble comprising Shujaat Husain Khan (sitar and vocals), Kayhan Kalhor (kamancheh) and Samir Chatterjee (tabla). From the classical synthesis of Indo-Persian music, they played three improvisations. Unfortunately I was so tired that I was only fully awake for the first. Variation succeeded variation like a very rich weaving, in this music.

The sitar produced tonal modulations very like that of a human voice when its strings were pulled sideways. The kamancheh, a spike fiddle that is ancestor to most bowed instruments throughout Asia and Europe, sounded like strings at one moment, and like woodwind at another, as SB remarked. The tabla is a pair of single-headed drums. The left-hand drum is called banya, the right-hand drum is called tabla. According to the program note, each drum stroke has its own name: Na, Ta, Dha, Dhin, Trik, and so on, and "the rhythmic patterns are transmitted orally through these onomatopoeic names.

I wish I could understand the words sung. I am not even sure if they were ghazals or some other kinds of lyrics.

No comments: