The Victoria and Albert Museum is holding a series of events to accompany the huge India Festival this autumn. Last night I attended the Music of India concert, an event held in the sumptuous Raphael Room, with a programme of two acts. The Rajasthani folk troupe, who closed the evening, also popped up in different spots of the museum earlier in the evening, attracting a huge crowd with their rousing music, and accompanied by Suva Devi, a graceful traditional kalbelia dancer.
Most of the evening was dedicated to showcasing “Classical music inspired by the Indian Monsoon”, with three musicians appearing in the UK for the first time: Omkar Dadarkar, vocals (and tambura), Sanjay Adhikary, tabla, and Rekesh Chauhan, harmonium.
The music was utterly mesmerising. A long, wailing note of the harmonium drew you in, shifting your sensory plane, to take you on a journey through the evening. Omkar Dadarkar is blessed with a beautifully expressive voice. Sanjay Adhikary conjured up the relentless patter of monsoon rains with the low thunks and lighter patter of the tabla.
The acoustics in the high-ceilinged room were good, but a little echoey during the introductions. As the musicians were seated cross-legged on a dais, it was difficult for anyone not on the front row to see them properly, so halfway through we moved and stood at the side. It made all the difference to be able to watch the musicians, especially Omkar Dadarkar’s expressive, darting hand movements as he sang.
Gourmet Gigs was delighted to see the little stall selling a mini menu of Indian-style nibbles: a deliciously spiced masala hot chocolate with ginger whipped cream; pea and potato samosas with chutney, and delicately flavoured cakes with pistachio and cardamom.
For full exhibition see Festival of India TO COME: V&A November 13th, Indo Jazz by Arun Ghosh Quintet. Free.
THE SMALL PRINT
WHO: Music of India
WHEN: November 6th 2015
WHERE: V&A Museum, London