Date: May 19, 2018 Venue: Schimmel Center (NY) Review by Piruz Partow
Legendary Iranian kamancheh performer, Kayhan Kalhor, has been one of the top World Music musicians in the world. Not only has he gained much recognition as an Iranian musician, having performed with Hossein Alizahdeh and Mohammad Reza Shajarian, but also being a pioneer in cross platform collaborations with YoYo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and also in duet with musicians like Indian Sitarist/Vocalist Shujaat Hussain Khan. Tonight’s duet concert with long-time collaborator Turkish baglama player Erdal Erzicanwas most enjoyable to any ear.
Date: May 13, 2018 Venue: The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland Review by F. Mactaggart
Photo by Adam Bulley
The sense of excitement is palpable as Scottish Trio HLK arrive briskly on stage at 8pm sharp, and persists undimmed until they take their modest final bows to the thrilled home crowd precisely two hours later. Such exactitude regarding time feels in keeping with a band whose music is predicated upon unrelenting changes particularly in time signature and tempo, a stuttering, gleeful symphony of polyrhythms and harmonic complexity.
ALJO…The Power of Activism and Jazz: Resisting an Oppressive National Political Culture
On Wednesday May 9, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestrakicked off a special five-city tour of California celebrating the power of activism and jazz in resistance to the oppressive national political culture currently taking shape in America..
Arturo O’Farrill and ALJO invited diverse communities throughout California to partake in their revolutionary musical movement propelled by the orchestra’s fiery big band compositions. Beginning on May 9, Stanford Live presented the West Coast debut of O’Farrill’s The Cornel West Concerto at Stanford University featuring Dr. Cornel West alongside ALJO. On May 12, O’Farrill headlined Radio-Active Resistance: A Benefit for KPFA FM and DACA Support Serviceswith opening acts Bobi Céspedes Band and the Son Jarocho All Stars at UC Theatre in Berkeley, CA. Additional ALJO performances included concerts at Mondavi Centerfor the Performing Arts (May 11), UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures @ Campbell Hall (May 17), and a rare Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble (octet) performance at Bach Dynamite & Dancing Society in Half Moon Bay (May 13). ALJO concluded its California tour with a live recording on the San Diego – Tijuana border on location at the Fandango Fronterizo Festival, joining together with noted Son Jarocho artists from Veracruz, México, and other special guest artists drawing from various countries and musical genres.
A frightening melange of noise and military sounds, arrayed in a brilliantly executed series of loops, assaults those who listen to the first track, “Cosmic Dust.” Soon, a beat emerges and forms an inviting backdrop over which paints a picture of Cold War era Eastern Europe.
Date: April 26, 2018 Venue: The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland Review by Fiona Mactaggart
Before the Swedish string trioVasenhave even strolled on stage in this their first visit to The Queen’s Hall in 15 years, the band’s name intrigues and perhaps gives advance notice of the complexity of the sound. Swedish word ‘Vasen’ translates as essence, a living or spirit being, or a potentially unpleasant noise. This last definition points to their wry, gently self-deprecating humour, which together with exceptional musicianship, the ancient sound of the nyckelharpa and extensive touring over the last 29 years, has brought the trio a world-wide fan base – they even have a street named after them in Bloomington, Indiana! They are worthy fillers of this prime slot on the first night of the 2018 Edinburgh ‘Tradfest’.