Bridging the musical dream with Shubha Mudgal and Sandy Evans

By Neeru Saluja

Shubha Mudgal with Sandy Evans, Aneesh Pradhan, Bobby Singh and musicians of the Sirens Big Band Pics. Courtesy Anthony Browell

When India’s rich classical music collaborates with Australia’s finest jazz, the composition has to be magical. Internationally renowned Indian singer Shubha Mudgal came together with Australia’s top jazz saxophonist and composer Sandy Evans in a sold out concert ”˜Bridge of Dreams’ as part of the Sydney Festival.

They were accompanied by tabla maestro Aneesh Pradhan, his disciple Bobby Singh and the 17-piece Sirens Big Band, comprising Sydney’s leading musicians.

Sandy Evans has had a long association with India. Five years ago, the 2014 Churchill Fellowship took Sandy to Mumbai to see if a collaboration was possible, and the outcome was a two-way street dream. The concert was a culmination of her work as a composer, saxophonist and musician. “It’s the greatest privilege in my life to be on stage collaborating with trained musicians like Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh and Bobby Singh, said Sandy Evans.

A world class collaboration, the concert ranged from Shubha Mudgal singing from classical to Bollywood unravelling an unreal earthiness of Indian music. The highlight of the concert was the ”˜Deepening of the red sun’, which brought out the best of all the musicians. As Shubha’s classical mystic singing (inspired from the poet Kabir) mingled with Evan’s melodies and Aneesh’s Pradhan’s rhythmic beats, the audience was left spellbound. The ”˜Tabla Spiral’ also stood out as Pradhan and Bobby Singh kept the audience entertained with their tabla dialogue. The Sirens Big Band deserved a big applause for being the perfect base to keep the identity of the music both intact and together when required.

Award winning saxophonist Sandy Evans had a dream and it has been fulfilled. The concert showed how the best of both musical worlds can come together to weave an exotic dream. The only link missing was the absence of music lovers from the Indian sub-continent, as they missed a world class musical encounter.

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