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The Rock-itt : October 2009
RASA AND DUENDE The Rasa and Duende trio, who played at the Glen Street Theatre on Sunday 20 September, are a part of Musica Viva's Café Carnival's year long musical festival presenting authentic music from round the world and showing the unusual instruments providing the music. Rasa and Duende consists of Adrien McNeil, born in Melbourne, studied Asian music at Monash University and since 1996 has been based at Calcutta University completing his doctorate. He is today recognised as one of Australia's best performers of the Sarod. British born, Bobby Singh, studied the table in India and today is one of the most sought after table players in the world circuit. Damian Wright of Sydney has been playing the guitar since he was 8 years old and spent 4 years in Spain perfecting his technique in playing flamenco music. The evening brought together the flamboyant, passionate flamenco with the spice of India and proved an interesting evening. David would sometimes bring the colour and vibrancy of Spain to the audience in a solo performance and at other times McNeil and Singh as a duet shoed their special musical relationship with their virtuosity and energy which all those in the audience who love Indian music, appreciated. Sometimes they'd combine as a trio. To me part of the enjoyment of the evening was to inspect the instruments which were left on show during interval. The Sarod is a musical instrument used in classical Indian music, and is very popular in Northern India. Sarod means 'beautiful sound' in Persian and is referred to as a bass instrument. Its slightly lower than the Central Asian/Afghanistan Rabab from which it derived about 150 years ago. It has a metal fingerboard with no frets. The bridge rests on a taut goat skin membrane which covers the resonator. The wood used is teak. The Sarod has up to 29 strings and can span three octaves. There are drone strings, melody and sympathetic strings, and is tuned to B. The strings are plucked with a triangular plectrum of polished coconut shell. The Sarod has a deep weighty introspective sound and is able to provide continuous slides between notes, known as Meeni, which is important to Indian music. Its technically hard to play as the strings must be pressed hard against the fingerboards. The Tabla of which Bobby Singh is the master, is a North American drum set and consists of a small wooden right hand drum covered with a 5-6 inch membrane called a Dayan and a larger metal left hand one called a Bayan (which can be made of iron, copper, steel or clay). Its striking characteristic is the large black spot in the centre of each which is a mixture of gum, soot and iron filings. Their function is to create a bell like timber sound. The drum sets' origin is somewhat obscure but probably dates back to about 300 years ago and is derived from the barrel shaped drum called a Pakhawa. Have a great night out by dining at Sorlies Restaurant, then a few steps and into the theatre for one of our great live shows. Generous subscriber discounts, just give us a call and let us be your hosts.