Old school

im— Catholic tastes

Obviously, The Dream Disciples are ~\ , winning friends in high places. Their

; most shining review so far graced the

. pages of the Catholic Times, who

; named it album of the month. ‘There


Ravi Shankar: plenty room round here for a sitar man

Ravi Shankar. renowned in every continent as one of the greatest musicians in the world. plays at this year’s Glasgow International Folk Festival. He began his performing career as a dancer. but is famous for his mastery of the sitar. the best recognised ofthe family of long-scale fretted instruments with sympathetic resonating strings. from the Indian subcontinent.

It's nearly 30 years since the world ‘discovered‘ Indian music when the Beatles climbed aboard the Maharishi‘s magic carpet. flew their entourage to a Rishikesh ashram and George Harrison sought sitar instruction from Shankar. If the Indian master became a household name at that time. his subsequent creativity writing for other musicians such as the flautist Jean Pierre Rampal cemented his reputation. In addition to this are his two concerti for sitar and orchestra. the first commissioned by the , London Symphony Orchestra and the second by the New York Philharmonic and premiered under Zubin Mehta. Philip Glass and Yehudi Menuhin have both collaborated with him on original works. and he has even composed for Hosan Yamamoto and Musumi Miyashita. Japanese virtuosos of the Shakuhachi flute and the horizontal harp/zither or koto.

It is however the great ‘raga’ forms which remain at the core of his musical life. There is a zen koan. ‘Is it the flag that moves? ()r is it the wind'.’ Neither: it is the mind that moves.‘ There is an equivalent Sanskrit saying ‘Ranjayati iti Ragah'. meaning ‘That which colours the mind is raga.‘

This musical form. of which the Scottish piobaireachd is our nearest equivalent, originated 2000 years ago in the Vedic hymns of the Hindu temples. and the spiritual impulse is at the root of the externporisation which is central to its performance by the few great masters. (Norman Chalmers)

An autobiography. Ravi. edited and introduced by George Harrison. is published by Genesis Publications this year on the occasion of his 751/1 birthday. Ravi Shankar plays the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Sun 2.

. Bi hition

\. ; were no religious connections in the

review,’ declares a baffled, but visibly chuffed, guitarist Sid Bratley. ‘Ouite ironic though,’ he adds later, ‘considering my dad’s a vicar and my

mum’s a nun.’

But don’t go along expecting silver crucifixes and other paraphernalia

dangling from The Dream Disciples’

necks. Although tarred with the goth brush early in their career, the band have little time for that scene, certainly not circa 1995. ‘Hardly anyone is aware of the current goth scene, which is unspeakably boring. We had eight support bands in total,’ he says, referring to a recent round of gigs, ‘and only one had a drum kit. They all sound the same. Total turn off.’

It seems that the feeling’s mutual, the black-garbed contingent generally

Dream Disciples: ‘friends on high’

understandable reservations.

Confused? You won’t be after listening to In Amber, their first album on Fish’s Dick Brothers label. As his support, they played gigs in Cerrnany, Holland, Poland and the Czech Republic, and are receiving orders and

9| fan mail from all over Europe.

‘I would say to anybody,’ says

i Bratley, ‘catch the live show. We are

pleased with the album, but it’s taken

5 a lot of the edge off it. . . you know, a 3 bit smooth and textural.’ Buck up, j man, and tell us where the album does ; score. After denouncing your own

refusing to be impressed by The Dream

Disciples far more musically ambitious, sweeping performances. The band have also been mentioned in the same breath as U2 and Simple Minds, which is a tag they feel rather more comfortable with, albeit with

record, you’ve got to give people some incentive to buy it. ‘Because . . . I can’t think of another band that sounds remotely similar.’ Beason enough. And you can’t argue with the big guy upstairs. He knows

I what He likes. (Alastair Mabbott) t The Dream Disciples play Stones,

Edinburgh on Wed 5.


_;.. '


k \\


The Opra Company: full scale productions on a shoestring

- The Opera Company, which is

performing in Edinburgh as Opera of

_ the South, may be run as a charitable organisation, but that does not imply

that its standards are anything less

3 than professional.

The success over the past six years

not long for an opera company to be

established is quite remarkable. The

‘7 Festival Theatre performances are

i part of a particularly exciting time for The Opera Company - their first

national tour. ‘It’s going down very

i well indeed,’ says artistic director

John Marshall. ‘We’ve had some wonderful reviews, with another lovely 2 one in the Sunday Times recently. : Audiences love it, we’ve been playing to packed houses and I really couldn’t ask for more.’ Part of The Opera Company’s success is attributed to its policy of always performing at full strength. ‘The big

companies like Scottish Opera do fligoletto large scale, but it’s unusual for the smaller companies to work this way,’ says Marshall. ‘Beduced

5 orchestras and no chorus can be very

valid, but we aim to present opera fully staged.’

In Edinburgh the company will number around 100. Performances are always in English, which the company reckons makes the stories more accessible to established opera-goers

and newcomers alike. Musical

standards - singers, orchestra and technical staff are paid - appear to be excellent. ‘All the money that comes in goes to the performers and the calibre is outstanding,’ says Marshall. (Carol Main)

The Opera Company (aka Opera of the South) perform Rigoletto and The Magic Flute at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Mon 3 and Tue 4 July.

Tidal forces

Damien Love gets swept away by the human maelstrom that is Dick Dale.

Dick Dale: ‘Hold on, someone wants to come in. [Puts phone down. shouts] The door is open!‘

German Tour Person: I rimidly] ‘Yes. but I don't know . . . if. . . you are dressed . . . you are decent . . .‘

Dick Dale: ‘Oh. that doesn't matter. You just walk in! You’ve seen a naked body before!‘

It's become an accepted line, when writing about the music Dick Dale creates. that his huge. gloriously relentless. fat-droning roar punctuated with supernatural treny runs and in driven by almost tribal drumming. originated as an attempt by Dale at evoking the feelings physical and spiritual he experienced when surfing the oceans off the West Coast of America in the late 50s and early 60s. Less well-documented. though, is the fact that speaking to the man himself is also somewhat akin to meeting a huge tidal wave. filled with all sorts of natural power. head on. Single questions open up full. uninterrupted, half-hour deluges of answers. flooding unstoppably along the phone wires. often sweeping any trace of the original point far. far away. You begin to feel like Dorothy. peering out. helplessly caught up. as the vortex throws torrents of images racing past your window.

For instance. a question, a simple enough affair. about whether the

‘I just started making sounds of Mother Earth and the feelings, so my playing is that of anger, that of frustration, of happiness.’

phenomenal success currently enjoyed by ‘Misirlou‘ (the Greek pop standard which Dale tumed inside out in 1962) as the infamous kick-offtheme to Pulp Fiction. surprised him. leads to an answer encompassing surfing. pollution. lions. tigers (and bears. oh my!) eagles. poachers. dying breeds. babies, ‘the power people'. ‘the grass roots people'. sound engineers. PR firms.joumalists . . .

If Dick Dale didn‘t exist. well. nobody would invent him because he‘s just too unlikely. lfyou thought the radical- spiritual-mystic dude-isms of Patrick Swayze‘s Point Break character were far-fetched. here we're dealing with a guy who gave up the surf in favour of snowboarding when the waters became too polluted, who rears endangered animals, who writes about the destruction of the indigenous peoples of the world. who has studied karate for 30 years. lives alternately in the desert or up a mountain. drag-races. flies (planes) and invented the coolest guitar-noise yet known to man. In the 1963 movie Beach Party - the first of the Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello beach series Dale was the only

38 The List 30 Jun-l3 Jul 1995