Edinburgh Fringe 2018
An unlikely looking musical combo of Scottish jazz and Rajasthani folk tunes that turns out to work a treat.
Down to The Jazz bar for another slice of Made in Scotland’s excellent 2018 Fringe programme, this time to see what, on the face of it, looked like an unlikely musical combo of Scottish jazz and Rajasthani folk tunes. But would it actually work?
This (possibly unique) fusion started life (as many good things do) with a chance encounter back in 2015 between the Brian Molley Quartet, on tour in India under the Made in Scotland banner, and Asin Langa and his ensemble at a gig in Jodhpur. Joined together by the common language of music, the relationship has developed through further exchange visits, culminating in a short tour of Scotland that is taking in the Fringe.
The Scottish contribution to this Fringe offering came from the jazz staples of piano, sax, bass and drums. The Indian connection added the sarangi, traditional Rajasthan percussion and Asin Khan Langa’s voice, probably the most compelling vocals to have ever graced The Jazz Bar. Alternately plaintive, haunting, melancholic, soaring, Langa lifted the quality of the music above the normal and into the realms of dream-like with his superb vocal control and expression. Technically superb and effortlessly emotive.
Fusions of traditional jazz and Rajasthani folk tunes were the staple of this interesting hour, with track lengths of 7-10 minutes enhancing the musical story being told by the instrumentalists. Vibrant sax from Brian Molley was supported with sympathetic piano from the expressive Tom Gibbs, bass from Mario Caribe and percussion from Stuart Brown with the lead on each tune being passed seamlessly to Langa on sarangi and Sadiq Khan, also supporting with percussion.
Counterpoint and syncopation were much in evidence in combinations such as The Rain and The Sand, Two Cities and Cheer Up Charlie, each delivered with the telepathic understanding that all jazz/folk musicians seem to be born with – quite how they know when to pass the baton and in what key has always eluded a singer like myself, used to dealing with structured choral works and ballads.
Did it work? In a word, yes. Six very talented performers, united by the common language of music, produced a combination of sound that was as uplifting as it was melodic and enchanting. More please!