Eduardo Niebla – St George’s, March 13
A late decision here, and richly rewarded. Lots of interesting things about his music, which I hadn’t really sampled since he used to go out as half of a duo with the (nowadays slightly jazzier) Antonio Forcione. Don’t know if they went separate ways because the musical trajectories were a bit different or they are both stars, but Niebla is certainly an astonishing musician, and a fine composer.
Not much more to say about the gig, as the show for this tour is well described in this fine Rodd Fogg review on Londonjazz from the previous night.
But it is worth emphasising how interesting it is that the flamenco-rooted guitar, which is quite percussive, blends so well with the tabla. The latter has its own, different tradition (why is it, incidentally, that Spanish music is so distinctive compared with other European nations? Belgium, say?. There must be a historical explanation I’ve not come across). But the multi-line, melodic capacity of the tabla, in suitably skilled hands, is a great match for acoustic guitar, or two guitars in this case. Shades of Shakti, and of Andy Sheppard’s recent tabla-using bands. It could come across as an arbitrary blend, world music that unites elements better left separate. But it works splendidly. An evening of real virtuoso music-making, but with lots of soul too.