Junun:Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood and the Rajasthan Express @The Barbican

What do you get when you have six Indian brass players, the four percussionists, two string players, an Israeli composer and a British  guitarist from the rock band Radiohead?

You have nothing too shy from Fiddler on the roof going full steam.WWallith Shye Ben Tzur finally making his dream come true by collaborating the east west traditional sounds fused with the modern electronic trance like music.

I say full steam because The Rajasthan Express held the fort not only with their instruments but with their brilliant vocals. Between Shye Ben Tzur and The Rajasthan Express they gave us  devotional Sufi qawwali’s, sung in Urdu, Hebrew  & English. Leaving the full house  in a trance by the quality of music. Jonny Greenwood made his mark through ‘Allah Elohim’ his past influence crept in.

Junun meaning ‘mania’ or ‘madly in love’ is a great description of what you would be exposed to if you sat in a room full of talented musicians who only have their vocals  and instruments to communicate. They take you from turmoil to tranquility from every beat of a drum to every string the was gently plucked. You do not have to speak or even understand the language to appreciate the fusion of east meets west.

‘The track ‘Ahuvi’ brings to mind a type of psychic turmoil, as if vocalist Asin Khan Sarangi is making sense of, shouldering even, all the pains of a world at war. On ‘Kalandar’, meanwhile, flute dances with psycho-acoustic trickery and twinkling effects to conjure a glimmering modern India.‘ -John Calvert

I have to say the wait was worth it but at one point my poor friend Sabah nearly walked out when the support  act an Istanbul-based producer and instrumentalist Başak Günak aka AH! KOSMOS, whose self-produced debut album Bastards paints euphoric melodies over techno rhythms with echoing guitar and floating vocals hit the walls of the Barbican. It was an acquired taste –  but it prepared your state of mind for what was to follow.

I was hoping to tweet and Periscope but the Barbican had no signal-thumbs down for that!

Ms Safirah Irani




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