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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Kulchur

Just returned from a wonderful classical gig in Dubai. It was half-a-dozen finalists from the BBC's 'Young Musicians of the Year'. With ages ranging from 16 to 20, each musician played 3 or 4 short pieces. The auditorium was jammed to the rafters - they had to bring in extra seats, people were standing at the back, and some of the more flexible members of the audience were invited to sit on the stage.

Memorable performances included Daniel De Gruchy Lambert (aka Dan The Crunchy Biscuit) on trumpet and Adam Clifford on percussion. Adam played a few things on the marimba - including a very intricate piece by Vivaldi - and concluded with a hand-clapping piece where he and Harvey Davies both clapped the same short sequence. But here's the thing; Harvey would do his bit exactly the same over and over, while with each bar (and these bars have 12 beats in them), Adam would skip one beat and then start over. So his clapping gradually moved out of phase with Harvey's, producing some amazing syncopated rhythms, until finally coming to rest in the 13th bar with both performers back in synch again. Great fun.

But I reckon the star of the show was violinist Sijie Chen. Born in China and living in England for the last 10 years, she coaxed beautiful music out of the instrument clenched under her chin, despite the fact that it was 300 years old!

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