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Reviews/Music

The Asha ensemble – exquisite sounds of the Middle East

31 January 2022

Kobi Arthur Morrison finds himself transported by the ancient music performed by Asha ensemble at Fringe World.

Asha, Dr Pouran Hudson and the Asha Ensemble ·
Camelot Theatre, 30 January 2021 ·

The first thing we notice walking into the inviting Camelot Theatre is a beautiful plethora of instruments on stage from a multitude of cultures. We are here to watch the Asha ensemble, and the admirable collection of instruments prepares the already chipper audience for a beautifully transporting show.

There are not many shows that give me multiple chills within the first five minutes of the artists stepping on the stage. But that is what happens when the ensemble of six, wearing a mix of red, black and white with matching red scarfs, begin their gorgeous display of musicianship.

This self-described Persian-Middle Eastern Music Fusion Acoustic Ensemble combine strong roots of tradition with exquisite musical coordination. Asha is led by the immensely talented violinist and singer, Dr Pouran Hudson, alongside Sobhan Erfani and Nikou Javadi on a range of drums including the tonbak, daf, cajón and darbouka, Reza Mirzaei on the guitar and saz (a long-necked lute), Morgan Maruthiah on violin and accordion and Kate Pass on double bass. The healthy onstage chemistry between the players shines through in their playing and smiles.

The whole ensemble are cheerfully confident and show an extreme pride towards their craft. As they perform they are celebrating vast music cultures that expand for hundreds of years. This particular quality about them is one that I can relate to, as someone who celebrates his First Nation culture through music. If my experience is anything to go by, they operate with a sense of satisfaction knowing they are making their ancestors proud.

Some songs are originals that are true to their genre, others are covers of traditional songs that are obviously familiar to the audience, who sing along. The breadth of cultures we are exposed to by these artists within the space of an hour is amazing.

Asha achieves exactly what they set out to do, building bridges between people through music, one step closer to the definition of the Avestan word Asha: universal order and truth.

For more information about Asha ensemble head to their website.

Pictured top: Pouran Hudson leads Asha ensemble in their performance of traditional Middle-Eastern music. Photo: Araya Sununkingpet

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Author —
Kobi Arthur Morrison

Emerging writer Kobi Arthur Morrison is a Bibbulmun Noongar born and raised in Perth. Kobi works at the UWA Centre of Social Impact and Propel Youth Arts WA and spends his spare time participating in music projects such as Moombaki, Koondarm, Koorlong, Madjitil Moorna and Endeavourous. In 2018 he was awarded the Perth NAIDOC Youth of the Year award. He loves playgrounds that are integrated into nature, particularly the tree house.

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