Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Indian Music Weekend

A treat for us this weekend was listening to live Indian Music – twice.
Friday evening we attended a concert at I-Hall at the University with five music students, their sensei, and the featured outside musician (from Tokyo) who played the sitar. All of the musicians wore traditional Indian clothing. The first few pieces were done by the five students, taking turns with the different instruments, three sets of Tabla drums, the tamboola, and another box instrument that was kind of like an accordion.

At the intermission, the students served chai tea and a variety of Indian crackers and breads to the concert goers. After the intermission, the sitar musician, the sensei playing the Tabla drums, and the students rotating to play the tamboola entertained us.  The music was very soothing. 

The sound box of the sitar is made from a hollowed seasoned pumpkin.  The neck is hollow and has movable frets. It has 20 strings and is played with a pick called a misrab.

The tabla is a percussion instrument composed of two drums.  The larger one is called the bayan and is made of copper and played with the left hand.  The other drum, which is played with the right hand is called the Dayan and made from sheesham wood.  Both drums are covered with goatskin.

The tamboola has a similar form as the sitar, but has no frets, just four open strings and is used to create atmosphere.

Saturday evening, these same seven musicians played at Bombay Blue, the local Indian restaurant.  The owner, Jimmy, made a special fixed menu for the evening with drinks included, for 3000 yen. Most of the people there were English speaking foreigners, some of whom we already knew.  We met Jimmy’s family: his wife and two sons ages 15 and 12, and his wife's cousin, for the first time.

The service is incredible at Bombay Blue, due to Jimmy and his staff. The combination of great service and great food makes Bombay Blue our favorite restaurant.

The music and the food went on for several hours and both were great. Like the evening before, the students took turns playing the tabla and tamboola, followed by the sensei with the tabla, the sitar player, and a student playing the tamboola.

Plate after plate of food and mugs of beer kept coming.

When we thought we could eat no more, there was dessert!

We thoroughly enjoyed both evenings of Indian music.

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