Sayed Ali Jaberi & Hamdel Ensemble – St George’s, Bristol

Thursday 27th June, 2019

Persian Sufi music. That was enough to catch my attention. A style of music I have no knowledge of and wanted to find out about, so ticket booked, off I went to find out. Expanding my musical horizons was one of the reasons I started and have continued on my musical quest. St George’s is such a lovely acoustic and hosts a varied programme so I felt safe to take a risk with something outside of my usual comfort zone.

The Hamdel Ensemble have been around as a collective of talented musicians and scholars since the late 90’s and include double bass as well as tanbour, oud and percussion. The music was polyrhythmic and trance like all at once. My feet could not help themselves from joining in. Building, slowly and repetitively to wonderful crescendos of voice and percussion and with a Sufi dancer whirling at times it was quite hypnotic. I decided not to join in with the group harmonies that we were asked to sing, I cannot hold a tune at all and that would have spoiled it for anyone who could hear me. It was beautiful to hear the rest of the audience, however, as it really connected us to the musicians on stage.

It was certainly enough to pique my interest in Persian and Sufi music and culture. I would really like to hear and see more.


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