The Royal Albert Hall is an excellent venue for Nitin Sawnhey and his diverse band to reproduce their rhythms. With different musicians ranging from singers and guitarists to tabla and sarod players, the evening seemed extremely promising. Sawnhey rotated between the piano and the guitar, whilst different musicians took the lead.
The dancing duo is exemplary. Their absorbing performance, with a repel/attract theme invigorates the evening and complements the music beautifully. It is a shame that their presence is minimal, as their synergy is entirely compelling. Honji Wang’s movements are performed with such vigour that their execution seems nothing short of perfection. Sebastien Ramirez is also excellent, however at times Wang’s delivery is entirely absorbing. As they lead one another across the floor, pulling and pushing with great finesse and skill, their performance is a delight to watch.
Notable performances are made by Ashwin Srinivasan, who sings and plays the flute. Sunset is a great accomplishment and one of the highlights of the evening, as is Herecica Latina in the second half. Singer Reena Bhardwaj’s serene yet piercing voice is a great marriage with Sawhney’s instrumental skill, especially in Tere Kyhal and Nadia. Manu Delago on the beautiful hang drums playing Spirals is another treat to watch. Tabla player, Aref Duresh stole the show in many ways; Breathing Light and Conference are magnificent and feel more organic than some of the other tracks. The encore shows Sawnhey and Durvesh in their element, counting numbers and then belting out a powerful finish.
Sawhney’s performance is overall agreeable, although the pop songs do not shine as much as his instrumental pieces. Despite Joss Stone having a strong voice, it seems slightly off-kilter in the performance pieces and does not mesh as well as anticipated.
It is an interesting evening, but somewhat underwhelming. The dancers bring a magic to the performance which fades when it is only the musicians on stage. Despite there being a few noteworthy mentions, the evening could greatly benefit from a longer stage presence by Ramirez and Wang. Although the audience are sincere Sawhney supporters, the evening’s performance on a whole is perfectly enjoyable; only at times surpassing excellence. 3.5/5
Review written by Prerna Prasad.
Nitin Sawhney with Special Guests Honji Wang and Sebastien Ramirez was shown at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 2nd November. To find out more about Nitin Sawhney, visit here…