Category Archives: Concert Reviews

DooBeeDoo Concert Review: Kamran Hooshmand and SoSaLa – An Evening of Ancient & Contemporary Music From The Middle East & Beyond

SoSaLaDate: October 18, 2015
Venue: CA Music Room (NY)

Review by Dawoud Kringle

The double bill at the CA Music Room of Kamran Hooshmand and SoSaLa promised to be a fascinating musical experience. This was the first time I attended an event at the CA Music Room. The venue (actually the home of photographer Clara Aich) was decorated in marvelous taste, and had fascinating art work throughout. The atmosphere was perfectly suited for enjoying music in an intimate setting.

The evening’s performance began with Sohrab Saadat Ladjavardi’s latest incarnation of SoSaLa, featuring Baba Donn Eaton (Last Poets) on percussion and vocals and Kaveh Haghtalab on kamancheh. This evening is Ladjavardi’s first public performance in over a year.

Donning his trademark Kendo outfit, he began a saxophone melody, without preamble or introduction. The entire room became silent and all conversation ended. Baba began a percussion atmosphere, and both men chanted about beginnings and endings  and other explorations of truth. Haghtalab joined them on kamanche, with metallic wind like sounds. Saadat’s saxophone took over with a melody almost reminiscent of Coltrane’s “Alabama;” except with a very definable Persian contour. Haghtalab took over, the melody, and the music and spoken word drew the listener into Saadat’s vision.

The second piece began seemingly where the first left off. But then it took off in a different direction; to my ears (admittedly limited in knowledge about the subtleties of Persian music), it took the form of a maqam. Haghtalab took a solo that explores another avenue of the music. Eventually, Saadat returned with his own variations.

Read more here:

Concert Review:…Sohrab is SoSaLa.

SoSaLa @ Dittmar Gallery, December, 5, 2013
SoSaLa @ Dittmar Gallery, December, 5, 2013

Date: Monday, December 9, 2013
Venue: Caravan (Chicago)

Concert review by August Lysy

Almost one year ago, in the crowded back room of an antique shop—amidst a mismatched assortment of chairs and odd articles—I happened upon a musical performance that for two whole hours took my breath away and held me captivated at the end of my seat. That was the night I first heard SoSaLa.

   A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure to hear SoSaLa again: the same performers, but a different space. Sohrab, of course, helmed the ensemble with his shiny, silver saxophone and passionate vocals and lyrics; Steve Marquette played electric guitar—a bluesy Jazz with a Robert Fripp twist—; Lucas Gillan dominated on percussion, playing both drums and djembe; and Alex Wing played both electric bass and oud, impressively capturing the whole range of intensity, from delicate openings and interludes to slap-bass-tic jams and solos.

   Objectively, since last year, the ensemble improved in their performing together. The ensemble developed a noticeably stronger rapport that was communicated in what I saw as an intenser and more unified performance. And not only did the members play better together, but each one improved in his respective instrument—most notably Steve Marquette, who tackled his solos with exceptional focus and vigor.

   Having thus attested to the greater harmony of the ensemble, I must confess that dissonance marked my overall experience of the performance—and for this I hold the location responsible. Unlike last year, where attentive listeners packed the performance space and a red and green rug hanging from the ceiling enveloped us all in the warm, Jazz sounds—this year crystal chandeliers, televisions, and silver ball-bearing curtains adorned the performance space. Not unlike an Eastern Orthodox Christian attending an Evangelical Sunday service, I felt the cool, modern feel of the space stifled the passion of the emotion and thus the thrall of the experience.

   But, again, I regard this as a fault of space and not any lack on the part of the musicians.

   Indeed, despite the ugly LCD glow of the television screens—or perhaps in spite of them—one could still feel the soulful movements of Sohrab’s saxophone, singing its plaintive Jazz, attesting not only to his instrumental excellence but also to the depth of his feeling. One feels this Sohrab’s genuineness of emotion even through the stereo, playing his CD: it’s in his voice and words and it’s what emanates from the horn of his saxophone. This authenticity is what drew me back a year later to hear Sohrab play again, and I believe it’s what will continue to draw people toward his unique sound. Sohrab is SoSaLa.

Previous Review

Middle-Eastern-Infuzed Free Jazz Delivers Amazing Experience by August Lysy (TECHNEWS, March 9, 2013)

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