There was a wonderful, ironic juxtaposition in placing an evening of Indian classical music in a Christian church on Goodwood Road - it's not often that you see sitar and tabla jamming together under possibly the biggest, most imposing looking crucifix on a church wall in Adelaide.
Irony aside, the church actually provided an acoustically perfect environment for Josh Bennett and Jay Dabgar to take the audience through an exploratory journey of Indian music. Bennett, a young Australian with serious talent on a multiplicity of instruments, also happened to be rather humble, charming and funny as he easily and patiently explained the music that they were playing to the captivated audience.
The first half of the show was split into three sections - the first a solo sitar section, setting up a steady, hypnotic feel, which then merged into the second as Dabgar joined in on the tabla. The third section involved a trading of phrases between the two based on 16-bar improvisations. Dabgar's virtuosity on the tabla is unbelievable, and he happily and energetically tapped out polyrhythms on each finger, making it look deceptively easy.
The second half saw Kathak dancer Parvyn Singh join the duo for some further improvisation of phrases, and an extensive breakdown of Indian musical language by Dabgar. The whole thing finished with a 5-minute long composition melding everything the group had been exploring all evening, providing the perfect culmination to an enchanting (and educational) show of Indian classical music.
Patrick Lang - dB Magazine

Josh Bennett (Sitar, Dilruba) and Jay Dabgar (Tabla) joined forces with Parvyn Singh to present their latest collaboration Sadhana in a one-show-only appearance for the 2011 Adelaide Fringe.
A long-time devotee of the Indian Sitar, Bennett has trained and performed in Adelaide and India, playing for Ravi Shankar in his Delhi home. Dabgar is a Tabla virtuoso and was awarded numerous Indian accolades before his move to Adelaide. Together, these two masters of their form are a pleasure to behold.
They have performed in combination many times both here and overseas, including the 2010 Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the Saptak Classical Music Festival in Ahmedabad, India. Their skill and passion have earned them a solid reputation and fan base in Australia, as demonstrated by the well-sized audience gathered in the tranquil setting of the Church of the Trinity.
It was a perfect choice of venue; this beautiful church nurtured the meditative nature of the show as Bennett and Dabgar presented an arrangement of Indian classical ragas. This music is genuinely enchanting; the soulful sitar strains lead you into a blissful state of calm and contemplation before the rhythmic Tabla beats awaken the mind and draw you back to reality.
In addition to the chance to enjoy a musical style generally reserved for the likes of Womadelaide, these performers impart much insight into their instruments and the sounds they produce. This allows the audience to enjoy the proceedings with a context and understanding for its purpose and meaning, greatly deepening the experience.
Bennett and Dabgar were accompanied during the second half of their concert by Indian classical dancer Parvyn Singh, daughter of renowned world-music artist Dya Singh and respected vocalist and performer in her own right. She presented several original compositions in the North Indian style of Kathak. Donning traditional dress and belled ankle bracelets, her captivating display of percussive footwork, twirling skirts and subtle, fluid movement had the audience mesmerised.
It is rare that you will get the chance to see three more humble or talented musicians in one night, and it was an experience to be treasured. While Sadhana had just one showing, you can catch Bennett and Singh performing with Andrew Clermont in Blu Grass – Ragas To Riches (Mar 2-6). Don’t miss it!
Nicole Russo - Barefoot Review

This year’s Fringe included a show called Sadhana: Sublime Music and Dance of India. The dance for the performance was Kathak, an ancient form of North Indian dance which was transformed with Persian influences by the Moghul emperors. This, to my mind, is a lovely, romantic form of dance perfectly suited to be matched to music and was often incorporated in movies in the past. The dance needs music to give it life and the music is enhanced as demands are placed on the musicians to please the dancer.
We are all familiar with the word ‘Sadhu’. It is closely associated with ‘sadhana’. It is then not surprising to learn that Sadhana has many meanings which can be simplified as the path to reach enlightenment. Or the ‘spiritual dedication to your life’s endeavour’ as interpreted by one of the performers. This evening’s performance was surely to be a journey dedicated to enrich the soul.
It was nice to know that our performers for the evening, who are now based in Melbourne, were happy to come back to their home-town Adelaide to perform at the Fringe. The dancer Parvyn has a musical family background so has been participating fully in Indian music performances since a child. She studies Indian classical vocal and Kathak dance at the Kadamb Dance Academy in Ahmedabad. Australian sitar player Josh Bennett is an exceptionally gifted musician, at home on several instruments and in a variety of world-styles. He has been studying sitar in Ahmedabad under the guidance of Smt. Manju Mehta for the past 15 years.
Indian music and dance are nothing without the tabla and Jay Dagbar is a seasoned professional in that role. Coming from a family steeped in the tradition of manufacturing tablas it’s not surprising to find he has such a love for the instrument. Trained at the Saptak School of Music in Ahmedabad he plays in the Benaras Gharana style. All three have recently returned from performing in India.
As is traditional, the evening started with a brief invocation to Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu sung by Josh. The invocation is a dedication to the glory of the Creator. It’s a melodic chant and sung with restraint and solemnity. His guitar with its deep, pleading notes was a perfect accompaniment and the dance by Parvyn made the piece quite special. Her facial expressions, intricate movements and postures were quite alluring and much appreciated. An Indian classical music evening is never complete without a tabla solo. This was the occasion for Jay to display his virtuosity. He was accompanied by the dilruba with Parvyn also performing a brief but pleasing dance to the tabla. The energy and speed of the display ended in a rousing crescendo much to everyone’s appreciation.
While musicians are tied to their assigned spots on stage the dancer has the freedom to roam and communicate with the audience and gain their attention. In a red lehnga adorned with gold bindis and a gold chunni Parvyn delivered a performance of controlled poise and grace. Kathak is a dance that invites the audience, brings them closer and is not aloof. A smile, a look, a movement of the hand or gingerly holding the lehnga while beating the rhythm with the feet but done well is what it takes to captivate the audience. The night’s show confirmed that Parvyn has what it takes in this regard.
We had Josh playing Raag Maru Bihag on the sitar. I was a little surprised at the very short alap as the music moved into the gat fairly quickly. It’s perhaps a forced necessity due to the short time available for the evening’s performance. Or it could be that audiences may have a preference for the faster music with percussion (tabla) accompaniment. Sometimes compromise is necessary. But having said that, nothing could be taken away from the power created by the music being played for us. The intensity of the sitar and the Jay’s tabla both working in support of each other and coming back together on the first beat of each cycle was quite impressive.
The next item was Raag Jog. This is an evening raag devoted to the katha or story of Radha. So it was quite appropriate that Parvyn portrayed the story of Radha in dance. Once again, deft movements or lingering poise, the tabla and sitar supporting the image of Radha as she moved about the stage was all quite evocative. Of necessity, this piece had to be short and had in it some improvisation but was based mainly on a dance composition for the raag.
The encore for the evening was a shloka Kasturi Tilakam sung by Parvyn describing Lord Krishna at play. Jay’s mesmerizing tabla and the deep, gentle strains of the dilruba were the perfect accompaniment to Parvyn’s clear voice. Just the right note on which to end the evening’s show.
The audience had been treated to a variety of pieces full of emotion, virtuosity and class. However, all performances have to come to an end. They transport us to a world of dreams but we have to come down to earth eventually as the lights come on. Rapturous applause speaks for itself. The music and dance have lifted our hearts and enriched our souls. And we have three accomplished artists to thank for that.
Avi Chandiok - Indian Link Magazine