LAWRENCE PETTENER

Poet, Writer

Gig Review:

Sevara Nazarkhan at St. George’s, Brandon Hill, June 22 2004

 

The delightful St. George’s may have been half empty, but the glass was at least half full on Tuesday night at the excellent soundbox of this former church.

The young Uzbeki beauty smiled throughout this concert, which started with a reggae number, surprisingly. Once again at this venue, we all felt we could have done with some room to dance. Around half of her set comprised Central Asian Turkic music, with some of the numbers employing western pop modes.

Ms Navarkhan’s understated dancing and whirling was hypnotic, and this was the first time I had seen anyone playing air-dutar (the dutar is the two-stringed Asian lute). It was no surprise to see Bjork at the top of her list of influences in the programme notes, closely followed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Sevara is no individualist diva, however; her extremely contactful nature had us clapping along to at least one Uzbek song. As with many other things in life, Asians have a thing or two to teach complacent Europeans and North Americans. This was a World Music of difference from our bored, disaffected pop/rock musicians, the whole band genuinely smiling periodically throughout.