Eastern, acoustic music treat

A MALABAR movement aimed at showcasing the classic Indian arts, Nirvana Performing Arts Circle, will present the Making Music concert – a world concert with the legendary and internationally renowned guitarist Steve Newman and Pretoria-based tabla player Ashish Joshi on Thursday.

The musical affair in the Newton Park Library auditorium will start at 7.30pm and run for an hour and a half.

Event organiser and chairman of Nirvana Performing Arts Circle, Mahesh Narotam, said the concert formed part of their aim to promote Eastern arts.

"Music is a universal language that speaks to everyone, so what better way to showcase that than to bring internationally renowned musicians like these two to the city?"

Narotam, who will also play the bansuri (bamboo flute) at the show, said the idea to host the concert came about after meeting with the two artists at the recent National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

"We are all musicians and therefore have that common thread. So they were more than willing to come [to Nelson Mandela Bay]."

He urged local Eastern and acoustic musical fans to come out in their numbers to "a fantastic concert, featuring excellent musicians and human beings with excellent values".

The two musicians met through a mutual friend about 12 years ago and have since then regularly played together as a duo. They use their respective instruments to fuse the sounds of the magical East with other genres of music.

Newman said: "Eastern music is just one of our influences and fans can expect a diverse performance ranging from Brazilian and African music to jazz, blues and pop, which represent the various countries we've visited and performed in."

He hopes to see musical fans who are eccentric and acoustic in their taste of music.

"People can look forward to original compositions with world influences and dance to Indian, Middle East and African rhythms."

"I am a citizen of the world," added the 62-year-old who has played the acoustic guitar since the age of 13.

"I love PE and I have been coming to perform here since 1976. I come to PE regularly and have a lot of good friends in the city," Newman said.

Joshi, 37, who has played the tabla for almost three decades, said he could not wait to "give the people of PE an insight into the instrument and the style that has emerged as my own".

"I'm not very traditional in my approach to the instrument. I've had a chance to use it in metal, rock, African jazz, world acoustic, deep house and pop bands – Johnny Clegg, Prime Circle, Rudeboy Paul, McCoy Mrubata, Neo Muyanga and Indian classical fusion as well."

Newman and Joshi have performed alongside musical greats like Salif KeÏta, one of Mali's most influential musicians, Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison and the late South African icons Miriam Makeba and Busi Mhlongo.

Tickets at R80 are available from Mahesh Narotam on 082-556-9847. - Balisa Ntloko