Press review of recent concert
Captivating sound of the Indian Lute
Music of the Spheres: Simon Kohli & Tapan Roy
Review by Peter Ridsdale
The Sarod, a 25-stringed Indian lute is not an instrument heard too often in Thornbury and it was therefore a rare delight to hear it being played by Simon Kohli in the Chantry.
Accompanied by Tapan Roy on Tabla and by a digital drone box, Simon performed two classical Indian ragas. We were also treated to a Tabla solo in which Roy, one of Britain’s most distinguished Tabla players, demonstrated some of the technical aspects of Tabla playing as well as ‘Bols’ the traditional mnemonic system of vocalising Tabla parts.
The Sarod has four main playing strings, four chikari (drone strings) and 17 sympathetic strings which vibrate when a corresponding not is played. These strings pass over a broad chrome fingerboard to a bridge on a taut skin over the soundbox. Once in tune it has a unique and captivating sound with something of the quality of a banjo due to the skin, but with a far more sophisticated aural sheen. It sounds amazing just to strum it, but of course Kohli did far more than that.
First on the bill was Raga Malkauns, based on a pentatonic scale that is unknown in Western music. An unaccompanied introductory ‘Alap’ was followed by a medium-tempo section in a 10 beat rhythmic cycle, which led to the conclusion in a 16 beat cycle, all executed with some aplomb by the musicians and appreciated by a capacity crowd.
“Fantastic opportunity for teachers to experience first hand an Indian classical music performance, providing inspiration to widen their children’s cultural awareness.”
Jilly Hillier, Marlborough Brandt Group
“Simon and Dhyan performed at the Mivart Open Studios event, the music was beautiful and the audience was captivated.”
Eddie Martin, Blues Musician and Creative Industries Mentor
“The music was absorbing, atmospheric…an enchanting evening that must be repeated!”
“Subtly crafted music…the music was captivating”
“The concert brought about a peaceful and happy heart and mind.”