Cultureguru's Weblog

Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Bollywood and Beyond

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Last Thursday we braved the pre-storm (really, no big deal) to go out for dinner and a concert. The dinner plan had been to check out Imbibe, on The Museum premises. Only, they didn’t seem terribly interested in serving us. It was a while before anyone even told us we could sit anywhere, and as the minutes ticked by with no one offering drinks or a menu, we left. (I’m not sure they noticed.)

Fortunately, the reliable Peter Martin’s was across the street. We discovered that they seemed to have largely abandoned their “cheaper bistro” idea, going back to the pricier appetizer and entree approach. Everything very good, though. We shared mussels in cream sauce with smoked bacon to start, then I had the pork belly with excellent greens and sweet potato sides, while Jean enjoyed the lamb with side of gnochi.

Then, off to our Intersections concert across the street. This one focused on Indian music, and befitting that, some members of the orchestra—including conductor Edwin Outwater—were in Indian garb.

Bollywood image

Not how members of the symphony were dressed, but a cool pic nonetheless

The guest performers did not play sitars. Highlighted on the first few pieces was the mrdangam, which is a type of drum. One side of it plays bass notes, the other higher-pitched rhythms. The performer, Trichy Sankaran, could play incredibly quickly.

He was joined by his daughter, Suba Sankaran, who clapped out rhythms during the instrumental numbers, but then also took over on vocals. One piece she presented was an reinterpretation of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire”. As befitting the title of this section, she did also present some songs from Bollywood movies, although with a twist: She sang lyrics from the somewhat humorous English translation, rather than the original Hindi. (No actual dancing, but we did some movie footage in the background.)

During a lovely piece called “Maya” it occurred to me that many of us had been trained in the sounds of Indian music by the British rock stars of the sixties: The Kinks with “See my Friends”, and of course, The Beatles. Fittingly, the last piece of the evening was a great version of George Harrison’s “Within You, Without You” from Sgt. Pepper.

The concert, performed without intermission, seemed to be over in a flash. Indeed, it was just about an hour long. Just enough to whet our palate.

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