Three Nights Out In A Row, Culminating With Homayoun Shajarian & Dastan Ensemble at Cadogan Hall, 6 February 2008

Barbat Credit to Galassi at the English language Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0
Barbat
Credit to Galassi at the English language Wikipedia
CC BY-SA 3.0

It was a bit of a social whirl early that week, with two work-related evenings Monday and Tuesday, then an interesting concert Wednesday.

Monday 6 February PEFC Evening at the House of Lord’s

This was a dinner organised by the Programme For the Endorsement of Forestry Certification Schemes (PEFC) about the world’s forest resources. In truth, I don’t remember all that much about the evening. We (Z/Yen and an expert panel) were doing a governance review with PEFC at the time. This event coincided neatly with a day in London with the governance review panel, most of whom attended the dinner in the evening.

I have a vague feeling that Zac Goldsmith might have been the guest speaker for this one, or perhaps I am getting confused with a different evening at the Palace of Westminster. Anyway, my e-mail trail suggests that the evening was a great success.

Tuesday 7 February Monique Gore Evening at the Kiwi Kitchen

This was a fun informal works outing organised by Monique ahead of a relatively long holiday in her native New Zealand.  We went to the Kiwi Kitchen on the North End Road – sadly now closed. It was a fun place and I recall the food being pretty good too. The only on-line Trip Advisor review that I can find (most have been closed down along with the restaurant) says:

“Perfect food, wonderful value for money”
5 of 5 starsReviewed 17 April 2009

Following a trip to New Zealand in January, we were missing the flavours of NZ and since we were in London decided to try out this restaurant. What an absolute gem!!
The food is cooked to perfection and the portion sizes are more than adequate – if you decide to go I would suggest taking a very large appetite!…

My abiding memory was that we had a large contingent of the Z/Yen crowd, not least the UNISON team. Coincidentally, the restaurant had a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc named Unison on the wine list, which I decided we simply had to choose to mark the occasion. It was pretty good wine too.

I wonder whether Monique took any pictures that evening – she often did – if so, I’ll subsequently up one or two of them if she is good enough to provide them.

Wednesday 8 February – Homayoun Shajarian & Dastan Ensemble at Cadogan Hall

Janie and I were keen to try this Persian classical music, so we made an unusual decision to see a concert on a Wednesday evening (Janie treats patients at home on Wednesdays, so is a reluctant traveller into central London for the evening on a Wednesday).

This concert was worth the trip, not least to see/hear unusual instruments such a the barbat and tar (lute-type instruments), kamancheh (a spiky fiddle), tanbak, dayereh, daf, dammam & kuzeh (percussion instruments).

The Dastan Ensemble – click here for website – are a leading ensemble in their field. A fair chunk of London’s Iranian community turned out for this concert, plus a sizeable minority of interested folk like ourselves. Not all of the audience was reverent in the way a European audience would be for classical music; for example quite a few people moved around or made noise during pieces. Similarly, the ensemble had little sense of London concert timing etiquette, performing several encores and thus keeping us at the hall till well after 10:00 if I recall correctly.

We won’t be rushing to see Persian classical again in a hurry; it didn’t float our boat to the same extent as Indian classical (for example) does. But we were both glad to have tried it, even in the middle of a busy week.

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