Music review: Spices from Istanbul: MeşkHane

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: This international quartet really deserve better than to be confined to a dark ­basement for their highly engaging late-night spot.

C royale (Venue 6)


With Danish oud (Arabic lute) player Joachim Robert Hvid joined by French saxophonist Yann le Glaz, ­Istanbul-based Scots percussionist Stuart Dickson and Bulgarian Georgi Dimitrov on the kanun, a middle-eastern zither-like instrument, they generate a beguiling swirl of Turkish gypsy music which, you can’t help feeling, would be best heard from café tables, washed down with Turkish coffee or ­something even stronger.

The vividly contrasting timbres of their instruments weave an ornate and constantly shifting tapestry of sound. A tune might be brought in by a bright cascade of notes from the kanun before the saxophone states a reedily melancholic theme, which becomes more purposeful as Dickson’s darbuka or other percussion comes rattling in and the microtonal phrasing of the oud laces its way through the melody.

Highly improvisational, their music is frequently spun out to complex time signatures, perhaps with what sounds like a stately procession accelerating into a dance. Some clearer explanations of the various pieces would have been welcome, but as the different instrumental voices, plangent or glittering, played off each other and the audience started clapping along to the rhythm, there was no evidence of any communication barrier, while loud demands for an encore further confirmed that the music itself was casting its benign spell.

Until 15 August. Today 10:35pm.