Friday, October 07, 2011

HBH 254

The bar disappears
As the music surrounds us:
Private performance.

It was great to catch up with my old guitarist mate David Mitchell, playing a little solo show last night at Amilal. He hasn't been playing so much in the last couple of years, distracted by marriage and fatherhood and the concomitant need to get a 'straight' day job. Also, his long-time collaborator, Ekber Ebliz, has left to study in America, so their great Uyghur folk project Panjir is sadly defunct. However, David's now got a new band he calls Kite, playing his self-penned compositions with a Central Asian flavour - but they've only played a handful of small gigs so far, and I haven't yet managed to catch them. Last night he was playing this newer material on his own, on a recently acquired, utterly gorgeous sounding 12-string guitar and his custom-made dutar (although he's started calling it a tambur; I've no idea what the politics of that is - I thought the tambur was a Turkish variant with a slightly shorter neck and a much larger soundbox, but what do I know?).

Unfortunately, tiny Amilal isn't a great venue for live music at the best of times; and with a large holiday crowd in, most of whom weren't interested in the performance, it was a struggle to hear his music over the background hubbub. David, however, well used to such irritations, was able to shrug off this general indifference, and simply played to the handful of friends and fans surrounding him. At one point, he came outside to play a few numbers just for me and a couple of friends in the little courtyard. Magical.

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