Reflections on new music


Carla Rees performs Michael Oliva's Apparition and Release for quartertone alto flute and electronics at this weekend's 'Post-War' event at the Southbank Centre's Rest is Noise festival. Jessica Duchen has a full account of the weekend here, and the buzz created by the 'access all areas' festival was certainly impressive. Earlier this year I wrote suggesting that Gitan canticles from Languedoc are linked to the qawwali Sufi tradition of the Indian sub-continent, from where the ancestors of the Gitans are thought to have migrated in the eleventh century. Others have independently come to the same conclusion and on Sunday evening we passed on the Southbank Gruppen and instead crossed the Thames to hear Faiz Ali Faiz, Carmen Linares and Chicuelo perform sacred Sufi and flamenco songs at the Barbican - check out this CD and samples if you missed the live performance. One day, two venues and convincing proof that new music can engage, surprise and inform if programmed intelligently, despite the person next to me in the Barbican checking his emails during the final ecstatic blend of Sufi and flamenco. What a pity we can't have the green shoots without the rain.

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