After an afternoon spent in the colourful and vibrant Shoreditch in London I could feel my anticipation rising as I took my seat in a small theatre at RichMix for the evening performance of “Dastaan with Sarvar Sabri”. I have attended many concerts and seen many films before but I wasn’t sure what to expect from “Dastaan” which was described as a riveting experience of live music, film and dance. The stage was bare save for some seats and a blank screen. As the audience filed in and the lights dropped the studio was filled with an air of anticipation. We were all intrigued to see what the evening would bring. Although I had been lucky enough to see the musicians in rehearsal the actual performance was so much more dazzling than I had expected. It was uplifting, exquisite and moving and so unlike any other live performance I had seen before.
This was my first experience of “Dastaan with Sarvar Sabri”. The performance space was intimate and we felt very close to the musicians on stage. Sarvar Sabri opened the show and by way of greeting, he introduced all the musicians. The atmosphere felt welcoming and even the younger members of the audience were put at ease and relaxed into their seats to enjoy the first half. Each musician in turn gave us a little explanation of their instrument and the origin of the music that they were going to play. The music selection was eclectic and engaging. They were all interesting, beautiful and unique in their own way but the segment that really took my breath away was Sam Fox on the harp. The combination of her voice and the gentle rhythm played on the harp combined with the melodic tones of the welsh lullaby were mesmerising, evocative and beautifully haunting.
Photo credit : Anisa Fazal
After a short interval, the performance continued with a poignant silent film featuring Persian calligraphy by Mehdi Jamali and dance from renowned ballet dancer Marion Tait (Birmingham Royal Ballet). The musicians provided a musical backdrop to the film, in solo or group ensembles as we watched the images unfold. There was also spoken word segments that echoed the emotions displayed on the screen. The audience around me were rapt and I found the relationship portrayed in the film very moving and tender.
The memory of the performance stayed with me long after the evening had finished. Marion Tate’s performance was sublime and she was able to evoke suggestions of loss and love with the most delicate of movements. The echoes of the music especially the beautiful chords of the harp lingered in the air even once the film had finished. I left the theatre thinking not only of the performance but how it had touched me and made me reflect on my relationships and how quickly time was passing and how important it was to make the most of life and all that it has to offer.
Each performance of “Dastaan with Sarvar Sabri” is unique and the atmosphere created is subtly different depending on the venue and audience.
It will be so interesting to perform in a library setting at Cherry Hinton in Cambridge on Saturday 18thMay where there are still some tickets available:
We are also looking forward to continuing the tour of this unique and thought-provoking show at the University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre on the 24thMay: