A small, select audience, which made for a memorable, very intimate evening of music from DEVA. As a promoter, it's often hard to sit down, relax and enjoy the music. Last night, the rich tapestry woven by the rhythm section of Peter Macdonald on mrdungham (which is, I was pleased to discover,a Northern Indian drum) and Neil Craig on tabla and djembe, augmented by Jonty Fisher's bass, swept us all away - with, it must be said, little resistance. Sometimes composer Trevor Warren's guitar playing meshed seamlessly with Christian Garrick's violin, at others they played counterpoint to each other. Garrick was as amazing as his reputation - "the Jimi Hendrix of the electric violin" - had promised - I particularly loved the Indian sitar-style number (For Kari?)where the electric violin was set up as a drone, while he played heartstoppingly beautiful acoustic violin above it.
Percussion is the poor relation of Western music and drummer jokes are legion. Informed by Indian and African traditions, Peter and Neil used everything from rattles, cymbals, brushes, and bells to add breadth, depth, height, vitamins and fibre to the sound. The other three tapped, slapped and beat out rhythms on the bodies of their instruments and at one point, Chris joined in with a plate and a knife from the Hall kitchens. Sonic textures, said my eldest son, and that's what it was, a rich, rolling, changing textured stream of sound that wound its way straight into your heart and mind. Relaxed, superb musicians, one and all, in this extraordinary band there are no stars - the band itself is the star. Thanks, Deva.