Church of the Trinity, Feb 20
Josh Bennett (Sitar, Dilruba) and Jay Dabgar (Tabla) joined forces to present their latest collaboration Sadhana in a one-show-only appearance for the 2011 Adelaide Fringe.
A long-time devotee of the Indian Sitar, Bennett has trained and performed in Adelaide and India, playing for Ravi Shankar in his Delhi home. Dabgar is a Tabla virtuoso and was awarded numerous Indian accolades before his move to Adelaide. Together, these two masters of their form are a pleasure to behold.
They have performed in combination many times both here and overseas, including the 2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the Saptak Classical Music Festival in Ahmedabad, India. Their skill and passion have earned them a solid reputation and fan base in Australia, as demonstrated by the well-sized audience gathered in the tranquil setting of the Church of the Trinity.
It was a perfect choice of venue; this beautiful church nurtured the meditative nature of the show as Bennett and Dabgar presented an arrangement of Indian classical ragas. This music is genuinely enchanting; the soulful sitar strains lead you into a blissful state of calm and contemplation before the rhythmic Tabla beats awaken the mind and draw you back to reality.
In addition to the chance to enjoy a musical style generally reserved for the likes of Womadelaide, these performers impart much insight into their instruments and the sounds they produce. This allows the audience to enjoy the proceedings with a context and understanding for its purpose and meaning, greatly deepening the experience.
Bennett and Dabgar were accompanied during the second half of their concert by Indian classical dancer Parvyn Singh, daughter of renowned world-music artist Dya Singh and respected vocalist and performer in her own right. She presented several original compositions in the North Indian style of Kathak. Donning traditional dress and belled ankle bracelets, her captivating display of percussive footwork, twirling skirts and subtle, fluid movement had the audience mesmerised.
It is rare that you will get the chance to see three more humble or talented musicians in one night, and it was an experience to be treasured.
While Sadhana had just one showing, you can catch Bennett and Singh performing with Andrew Clermont in Blu Grass – Ragas To Riches (Mar 2-6). Don’t miss it!