Old And New Music From The Ends Of the Silk Route, Wigmore Hall, 2 December 2016


This was a wonderful concert.

It was supposed to include the Uyghur musician Sanubar Tursan on vocals and dutar – click here for a sample including a hat with a nod to my Vermont and a dutar with a nod to my baroq-ulele, but sadly that artist was unable to show.

Still, we got plenty to see and here; Wu Man on pipa (we’d seen her before, in a late night “gig at the Wig” a couple of years ago) and Basel Rajoub and his Soriana project.

I got all excited about this concert when I went on line earlier in the week and listened to some Basel Rajoub/Soriana music; so much so that I downloaded a couple of albums to get familiar with this Syrian/Jazz fusion music:

Further motivation for the Syrian aspect of the music came from Gresham Society trip earlier in the week, where I saw, amongst other things, a wonderful antique picture of musicians in Aleppo (Basel Rajoub’s home town).

The concert was clearly rejigged to accomodate Sanubar’s absence, so the Wigmore Hall on-line stub – click here – and indeed the main programme did not have a running order, but a separate flyer did – uploaded and shown above.

The concert started with Wu Man alone, then Basel Rajoub’s Soriana Project, then Wu Man joined Soriana so they all played together. The all playing together biuts were the most interesting for live performance. The artists clearly enjoyed playing together.

I didn’t realise how much the pipa had Central Asian origins along with the dutar, but this link to Wu Man and Sanubar Tursan explaining it all helped me understand it.

It is a shame the concert needed to be rejigged, but frankly most of us were perfectly content. Janie really enjoyed the fusion sounds, although she claimed last night to have tired a little of me playing the Basel Rajoub recordings. Perhaps you can have too much of a good thing.

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