The Manganiyar Seduction
QPAC, Concert Hall
March 1 – 2
“The Manganiyar Seduction” live music experience has no real break in its performance. This is probably a productive programing decision, as breaks would have afforded opportunity for applause that surely would have been extended and rapturous, assumed by the passionate ovation given after the shows thunderous finale… because this is beguiling theatrical orchestration at its most seductive, both in sight and sound.
The original, intriguing experience comes courtesy of a caste of hereditary singers and instrumentalists from the heart of the Thar Desert in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The folk performers and players of interesting Indian wind, string and percussion instruments, present a traditional, classical Indian music performance with punch, highlighted with a synchronised light display. Staging is impressive before the music has even begun thanks to an immense onstage jewel box alike Japiur’s Hawa Mahal, from within which each musician is revealed in progression as section curtains open, with lights around each booth lighting when musicians are playing.
It beings slightly, with meditative, slow-tempo sounds from a solo bowed-string-instrument player. Soon he is joined by a single, hypnotic vocalist. Everything is precise in the build of non-western beats and rhythms, seamless segue into percussion, final full ensemble crescendo and beautiful, melodic encore. And QPAC’s Concert Hall proves to be the perfect venue for the rhapsody, with drums literally vibrating through the venue, provoking audience members to be enraptured.
“The Manganiyar Seduction” is a musical experience unlike any you have probably ever seen before. Its light and shade from slight string strumming to almost silence to mad Animal drumming, give it an appeal beyond just world music. As someone who has been privileged enough to experience incredible India, it not only inspired reminiscence of its sounds, but its intense incense and spice aromas, such is the great aesthetic pleasure of this evening of rich culture. Indeed, it is so easy to be swept away in the wonder of its emotional experience, that its 70-minute duration seems like the shortest time.
This stunning theatrical presentation of Rajasthani music is energetic and quirky (often through the moves of its charismatic conductor). Its mesmerising originality makes it a truly memorable spectacle of vibrant and passionate musicianship, that should not be missed.