Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Epichorus -- Washington DC Jewish Community Center - May 13 2015

The Epichorus - I am quite happy to attend my first event of the 16th Annual Washington Jewish Music Festival in this comfortable auditorium. I have seen some superb acts before that took lots of paths out of middle eastern music into fascinating places. And tonight, this is no less eclectic journey as this New York ensemble creates some of the most comfortable, yet challenging music you could ask for.
They start with rabbi Zach Fredman who plays a little guitar (which is what he learned on, but not his favorite), a saz  (emitting worldly sounds), and an oud (which has challenged him the most). He tells us he was cutting out early of his final year of study in Jerusalem to go take lessons in Syrian music. Thankfully he succeeded in both areas of study as he has a great style with all three of his instruments. And even more worldly expansion begins with his eclectic group of players featuring percussion, stand-up bass, violin, and flutes. Top all of that of with a female singer, Priya Darshini, who speaks and sings about 15 languages and brings her Indian heritage into the  musical mix. The flute and bass solos are quite stunning while the strings create mesmerizing patterns that the percussionist punctuates. Darshini has a lovely voice and has the versatility to enliven each song. Fredman is correct when he says he is happy he can play his original songs with such a fine band and have them fit in with the historical classics the group handles so well. It is all smooth and exciting, whether it is a modern song, an ancient folk classic, or a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan cover. And with a band that appeared to be having as much fun as the audience, this was a lovely evening of captivating music.

No comments: