Andy Sheppard & Kuljit Bhamra

17 January 2006

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Andy Sheppard & Kuljit Bhamra (by David Sinclair)
(Image by David Sinclair)
Andy Sheppard (soprano and tenor sax)
Kuljit Bhamra (tabla and percussion)

An opportunity to see Andy Sheppard is always a treat. The possibility of something completely new to me seemed assured when I learnt that Kuljit Bhamra would accompany him on stage at Bedales. I was not disappointed.

The playing of soprano and tenor sax + tabla and multi-percussion filled the theatre with a mixture of haunting, sometimes familiar music and an impressively clever counter-balance of different rhythms and sounds.

Andy Sheppard pushed and at times confounded our belief as to where the sound was really coming from. Was he recording on stage and then playing it back to us to accompany real-time playing? And the radio ?did that just work to order? I donít know but I donít mind that I donít know for the results were so inventive and so pleasing as to make the questions redundant (for me anyway).

There was pleasure visually too in the unpredictable nature of Sheppardís use of space on stage and his foray out into the body of the theatre. His irrepressible sense of fun was ever present and echoed in Kuljitís beautiful smile. The respect for each other was evident in the perfect fusion of these two accomplished musicians who come from such very different roots. A great concert.

My favourite bit? That wonderful seedpod wandy thing ?what a cool sound! (Suzie Oliver)

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