Local, US fusion bands captivate audience

Local, US fusion bands captivate audienceA teeming cheerful audience enjoyed the recently demised singer-activist Pete Seeger’s famous song Let It Shine covered jointly by the members of the visiting American band Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards and the local fusion band Joler Gaan on Wednesday at the Bangladesh National Museum auditorium.
Pete Seeger’s optimistic song was revamped in the presentation as the American band’s powerful fiddle music and the eclectic combination of instruments like Bangla dhol, flute, chandrabhan and others played by members of Joler Gaan created a pleasing and poignant composition.
Expression of hope and light pervaded the auditorium when the singers and the audience in a voice sang the song as the last performance of the programme.
US embassy Dhaka organised the evening of music where noted ‘all-female string trio’ Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards and all-male popular folksy-fusion local band Joler Gaan performed.
The American band has been touring for the last two months as part of the American Music Abroad cultural exchange programme. It was the local band which captivated first with their popular numbers. The eclectic fusion band, led by Rahul Ananda, entered the hall with sweet music on a string instrument followed melodically by other percussion and string instruments which ended with a long melody on conch.
The short instrumental number sufficed to raise the audience in merriment. The band began with one of their most popular numbers – Bakul Phul, a folk song composed in powerful and electrifying fusion.
Presentation of another popular number Tumi Amar Pashe Bosiya Thako, in a new composition that bends towards merry music, gripped the audience too.
The band also presented popular songs such as Ei Pagaler Bhalobasa, Andhar Raite Chander Alo, Ami Pakhir Mato, Ami Ekta Patar Chabi Anki, in their arresting signature style.
The high and cheerful audience then was led to a completely different but similarly entertaining performance by the American all-female string trio- Laura Cortese and The Dance Cards.
The trio consists of Laura Cortese (vocalist, fiddle), Valerie Thompson (cello) and Mariel Vandersteel (fiddle). The band is schooled in the lyrical rituals of folk music of the Appalachian type.
The audience was instantly arrested by the trio’s sophisticated and collaborative string music and Laura’s moving and powerful singing.
Laura began with Until I Met You which had a sharp jazz flavour, and went on to present her popular songs such as For Catherine, I am the House, I was a Girl, Lay me Low and Heel to Toe.
Laura fused American folk music styles like bluegrass, old-time, country with modern cadence in her rich and elegant compositions.
For the audience, however, the most interesting part was the joint presentation of the two bands. Joler Gaan presented its melancholy song Ghorer Bhitor Ghor in its own eclectic fusion music coupled by the powerful tunes of fiddle played by Laura and others of the American band.
It was Laura who ended the programme with Seeger’s Let It Shine making the evening memorable for all.
‘It was fabulous. I loved all the presentations,’ said a delighted audience Murtaza Hasan. ‘I am swayed between familiar and unfamiliar marvels,’ said another audience Busra Ahmed.

-With New Age input

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