Sunday, October 12, 2014

Music Diversity at NYUAD

After a long time, I attended a NYU Abu Dhabi music event tonight. These have always been "different", and this one was, well, no different.

In this special performance, five specialist musicians from very diverse schools and cultures shared the stage: (left to right) American-based Peruvian computer musician Jaime Oliver, Ghanian traditional percussionist Gideon Alorwoyie, Indian traditional instrumental and vocal percussionist Akshay Anantapadmanabhan, British saxophonist Barak Schmool, and French computer-assisted composer/mixer GĂ©rard Assayag. 

Each performed solos -- occasionally leading collaboration acts -- in turn, before a closing performance as an eclectic quintet.

As someone who works with computers, I was fascinated at a technical level by Mr Oliver's setup, which created electronic sounds based on the movements and shapes he made with his hands. Mr Anantapadmanabhan's traditional Indian percussion (top) was also very impressive, especially his vocal percussion.

And being both a jazz fan and a general performing arts fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the moves and chords in Mr School's act (bottom), in which he played saxophone to a backing track while synchronized video slides of him casually dancing to elements of the track were projected overhead.

Whatever the individual tastes for their styles of music, though, I understood, from overheard reviews on the way out, that many fellow attendees thought the final collaborative quintet performance was amazing -- an assessment with which I heartily agreed.

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