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Posts Tagged ‘Akademi’

Some more Tagore

 

Song of the City, photograph courtesy of Akademi and Southwark Playhouse

In my last blog entry, I admitted that I find Rabindra Sangeet boring and wished it could be set free from its traditional interpretation.  Well, it seems as there are other people who want this as well.  Last night I attended an interesting dance production called ‘Song of the City‘ by Akademi which uses Tagore’s songs in a contemporary way.   The piece is about three characters – Muse, Artist and Man who fall in and out of tune with the city.  The dance blends ballet, bharatnatyam and modern dance while the music mixed stripped back Bengali vocals, pulsating big beats, clarinet ( played by Arun Ghosh who also composed for the production) and an electronica-tinged soundscape.  And then the actual setting.  It was a character in its own right.  Dark, atmosphere and musty vaults underneath London Bridge where the subterranean space was given a golden dirty hue by the naked lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling.

All in all, quite an interesting production.  I didn’t come away spellbound as some bits worked well, others less so.  However, what was most interesting for me was that the Rabindra Sangeet wasn’t boring to listen to!  No harmonium, no irritating bells, no monotonous singing.  The songs were rendered full of emotion and momentum.  Why?  The accompanying music lifted the lyrics from the doldrums, gave it life and meaning.  Layers of dub, electronica and beats along with the modern dance gave the songs the much needed atmosphere and context that has been sadly lacking in other Tagore dance dramas.  Sacrilege for some, a surprising evening for me.

 

 

 

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