Manu Delago. The Lantern, Bristol.
Master of the hang. First venue to get a third trip.
Big Jeff was there and as every Bristol music fan knows, that’s a sign it will be a good gig. “This will be a special gig” he said. He wasn’t wrong.
When I saw Evelyn Glennie (gig 4 – keep up!) play the hang I fell in love with the sound of it, so as soon as I saw this gig, I knew I had to go. It’s an unusual and beautiful instrument that can be loud, soft, gentle, violent or lots of other things depending on how it is struck. Manu doesn’t just play the hang. He plays 3 hangs. At once. Which is quite astonishing. And he produces the most beautiful, inventive & lovely sounds.
He had with him a singer/violinist/vocalist/something else player (no idea what it is called, it looked like an Ikea lamp hack) and a percussionist/timpani player who were both just as creative and inspiring to hear. Together they played some beautifully weird music – one song was about sending a blank postcard from a mountain with its tongue sticking out (I think) and another an 18th Century physician, after whom the word mesmerizing is named. The relationship between the three of them was gorgeous to watch, towards the end they played a piece where they were feeding off each other like jazz musicians would – trying to top and outdo each other with the sheer physicality of their playing. It was serene, trippy and well, lush. It was undeniably odd, but it revelled in its eccentricity and made virtue of it. I, of course, loved it.
For the encore they played toothbrushes. They turned brushing their teeth into music. Into art. And I thought Daniel Lanois was strange! I do seem to be picking some eclectic and unusual gigs. Discovering new music, being open to new sounds, was all part of this for me. Embracing music, and indeed life, in all its wide and beautiful manifestations, is very much what 40 gigs is about.
12 down. 28 to go.