Concert Review – Joseph Tawadros: Melbourne Recital Centre, 28th March 2015

As my regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of musical cross-polination – it gives one differing sources of inspiration, different perspectives on musical performance, different colour palettes and sound worlds to store and draw upon and, of course, generally broadens ones horizons.

So when I heard that Aussie oud legend Joseph Tawadros was in town for a one night only initimate gig at the Salon of the Melbourne Recital Centre I booked in my ticket quicker than you could say “What is an oud? Oh, it’s kinda like an Middle Eastern mandolin or lute.”  Why? Tawadros is a musician of incredible proportions, and is a musician that enjoys and excels in cross-pollination, combining flavours of western classical, jazz and eastern classical musics.

In spite of having a number of Joseph’s recordings (and a number of recordings by Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem) this was the first time I’d seen oud playing live and in the flesh. Starting with multi-ARIA award winning Joseph Tawadros was certainly a very good idea on my part!

The evening was an intimate little setting in Melbourne Recital Centre’s Salon, the audience within grasping distance of Joseph. I really like the space for chamber-type recitals generally but the space, replete with atmospheric lighting to enhance the ambiance, really lent itself very well to the solo oud (rhymes with “would” for those unfamiliar) performance.

The music the audience were treated too was simply stunning. All pieces obviously eastern and Egyptian (Tawadros being of Egyptian descent) in their nature, infused with subtle aspects of jazz throughout.  And all deftly delivered by a blistering left hand, flying around the neck, and an equally eye-blurring right hand.

More than this, however, is the special musicianship with which the music was delivered. Tawadros is clearly one of those musicians, rare in number, who can seemingly weave a magic spell on the audience – drawing us in with lulling bass drones, moving modal melodies and delicious eastern cross-rhythms. The excitement in the audience was almost palpable at points, such was the level of energy Joseph was pouring into the room with some pieces. Gare de l’Est and Forbidden Fruit from his 2010 album The Hour of Separation were particular high points from my point of view.

Not only is Joseph an amazing musician, he is also a very entertaining, and rather witty story-teller. The stories he told of his adventures on the road in Egypt, New York, and country New South Wales, and how Egyptians apparently like eating pigeon (?!) had us all chuckling in our seats.

And as well building the audience up into a state of excitement with his wit and rapid fire playing, Joseph also demonstrated his skill in bringing the audience to a more reflective mood – his performance  of Heal (also from The Hour of Separation), dedicated to his late parents, is a beautiful piece, that was performed in an equally beautiful fashion.

This performance was one of those truly special performances and shall remain in the memory banks for a very long time to come. If you get the opportunity to see Joseph Tawadros playing live and in the flesh I highly encourage you to take it.

If you’d like to find out more about Joseph, and his newest recording Permission To Evaporate,  head along to his website:

And I’ll leave you with this clip of Heal……

Oud Virtuoso Joseph Tawadros – Solo Live & Intimate at MRC March 28th

Howdy folks! Apologies for being off the radar a bit recently – I’ve been a tad on the busy side travelling, setting up my new music room in my new house, building gates, cleaning out ponds and the like! I’ve not forgotten about you (or my own practice for that matter!) and things will be getting back on track in the next week or two.

Aaaaanyhoo, on with the show! There’s a very exciting event coming up the weekend after next in Melbourne. The ARIA award-winning, mind-bogglingly virtuousic (and wearer of a glorious moustache!) oud player Joseph Tawadros is playing an intimate solo recital at the Melbourne Recital Centre on March 28th (4pm and 8pm).

Tawadros’ latest recording, Permission to Evaporate, has been hailed as ‘a masterpiece’ (5 stars) in The Australian and earned a 2014 Independent Music Award nomination. And did I mention he’s won an ARIA award or three? Joseph won ‘Best World Music Album’ in 2012, 2013 and 2014,  not to mention 11 ARIA-nominated albums. Not too shabby eh?

The March 28th gig will be a very rare opportunity to hear Joseph up close and intimate in the Salon. And I promise you, if you’re in Melbourne you need to check it out!!

Head here for more info and tickets:

Joseph is somewhat prolific too. He has another new recording coming out April 17. For a little taste of Joseph’s amazing playing (and a taste of his new album) check this out: