of weeks ago, a troupe that goes by the name of Hollywood Ballet redefined
ballet for us. We were thankful that it was only Hyderabad that was watching.
Last evening, something just as improbable happened when the 'jazz rock' program
turned out to be a pop rock one. If this was jazz, then Britney Spears sings the
blues. All right, there were some instrumental pieces that were jazzy enough,
but the rest of the stuff was all pop, little rock and no jazz.
Part of the ongoing German festival in India, the effort on the ICCR's part itself is laudable. The concert at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, some two months ago, was astounding for its spare settings and innovative music. But with all due respect to Frank Nimsgern and his band (they are all neat musicians), it was a pity that they chose to advertise their inspiration before the concert and went on to play something vastly different. Frank seems to have done a lot of musicals, as he calls them, in Germany, and most of his compositions were taken from them. None so prominent as 'Snow White', whose principal player, Aino Gudrum, was the lead vocalist for the night.
It didn't take long for them to announce their intentions, as they kicked off with 'Funky Side' - the name says it all. Numbers like 'Can't You Feel It' and 'Break The Silence' followed, but ironically the crowd obviously couldn't feel it, and were adamant in their silence, choosing to break it with a disgruntled murmur or two. But all weren't so stoic as some tried to join in, but the open-air setting and the comfortable chairs somehow didn't get the best out of them.
Aino used her hands every which way to convey her ardor and was almost always on her toes, Frank sounded quite perky and the rest of the musicians indulged themselves during the instrumentals, but even when they did the last song 'Beautiful Day' (not the U2 one), they couldn't interest many. Aino said 'beautiful day' some twenty times and very few bothered to agree with her.
The extensive use of the synthesizers, the 'smooth' sound and the open-air setting made the music less sharp than would have been preferable. Otherwise, there was enough evidence that the band has real good players - the drum and bass solos were incredible and justified the event to an extent. Aino can put in as much passion as she likes, without diminishing the shallowness of the lyrics.
There were some light effects, too, but the limited range soon took away from the novelty. All in all, a sophisticated display that carried a gaping hole in want of substance.