Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Music Festival

The first of three concerts in the Summer Music Festival took place at the Barnwell Patio last Saturday evening. Lack of event publicity was obvious in the small, tho' appreciative audience present to hear the quartet, BRAHMA. I didn't pick up the brochure so I can't name the performers except as the guitarist, two drummers and the group leader who played that big xylophone I associate with Lionel Hampton. Each added their special talents to the exotic sound.
It seemed right that they were under a tent; the music brought to mind belly dancers, Balinese Ramayana players, Indian rhythms. The guitar carried most of the melodic line, supported by the "xylophone" player's clear notes. The latter also used some Balinese instruments in several compositions; a set of brass bowls each topped with a peaked lid, and a set of what I think were bamboo cylinders also used for percussion. The drummers put on quite a show too. The hands of the musician using a "tribal" drum on his lap (drumhead on both ends) were often too fast to see and his one voice solo proved that he could earn a different living as an auctioneer. The other drummer had two tambour drums( tablelike drums?), one standing and one held under his arm. He used his hands and sometimes what appeared to be narrow bundles of twigs to create a soft, insistent rhythm.
Toward the end of the performance, some in the audience expressed themselves with grace, agility and awareness of drum beat by dancing to these exotic sounds; some utilizing the moves they'd learned on FIT TV for the "shimmy". I don't know if anyone has danced to their music at previous concerts, but it was truly wonderful to witness the melding of music and motion by this marvelous group and the exuberant audience.

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