With the end of Ramadan in sight (ensh’Allah), and eid just around the corner, the Barbican is getting with the mood by putting on a celebratory series of concerts under the loose label of Ramadan Nights. Which is really just a terrific excuse to get together some of the finest musicians from assorted Islamic countries and have themselves a bit of a jam.
If World Music is your bag, we do suggest that you grasp this rare opportunity to check out any or all of the following:
Thursday 25th September at 8.30pm: Reem Kelani, a Palestinian singer, kicks off the four day programme. She’s a highly respected and acclaimed jazz musician, who combines modern riffs with traditional Arabic sounds. This is perhaps the highest profile of the performers, but Londonist has to say that she doesn’t do it for us. Bit too dirge-like. Tickets £10/£15.
Friday 26th September at 8pm: Azerbaijan’s Alim Kasimov Ensemble playing with the sterling Kronos Quartet. This will be upbeat, toe-tapping, romantic, faraway stuff that will have you pining for the Caspian in no time. The main dude has a piercing voice with a range that seems to feature more octaves than Londonist thought possible. The event is supported by that nice Aga Khan who has set up a foundation to support Central Asian music. Tickets £15-£25.
Saturday 27th September at 3pm: Before the main evening concert why not grab a slice of FREE Anatolian folk music. Ozan Torpak will be playing on the Barbican’s Freestage. This is a good one for instrument geeks, as he’s got some weird equipment.
8pm: The Kamkars. Now this is the highlight for Londonist. This lot are brill – a sort of Kurdish Partridge family – but a whole lot more talented:
They are partnered on stage by haunting ney (that’s Persian reed flute to you) player Kudsi Erguner.
Tickets £15 - £25.
And then later that evening you’ve got Aida Nadeem who does sort of rappy, hip-hop Arabic chill-out poetry stuff. We like.
Monday 29th September from 7.30pm: Malian night. First up there is Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba. This maestro of his art plays a beguiling bluesy, folksy, happy sound, and he and his band are highly entertaining. They are supported by Tartit, a bewitching line-up of female Tuareg drummers and vocalists. This whole evening also gets a big thumbs-up from us.
All tickets can be had by calling the Box Office on 0845 120 7550 or clicking here.
Regents Park Mosque image courtesy of Matt from London's flickr stream under the Creative Commons Licence.