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.

india 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.

india classical

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.

food cart

Indian Food

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.

food cart 2

 For full exhi­bi­tion see  Fes­ti­val of India  TO COME: V&A Novem­ber 13th, Indo Jazz by Arun Ghosh Quin­tet. Free.


WHO: Music of India
WHEN: Novem­ber 6th 2015
WHERE: V&A Muse­um, London

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