Simon Thacker’s Ritmata
Tight-knit ensemble pulsing with internationally inspired energy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Hardly surprising for a group bearing an Italian name that means rhythm, Simon Thacker’s Ritmata is a tight-knit ensemble characterised by an internationally inspired pulsating energy. For their Made in Scotland show in Summerhall’s Café, their repertoire, all by Thacker, embraces influences from a whole range of countries including 13th century Spain and traditional music of Azerbaijan. A quartet of top-notch musicians, led by Thacker himself on guitar and with Paul Harrison especially notable on piano, they would have fared better in a venue more suited to their style. With hard café surfaces and not enough space for their sound to resonate, equitable balance was difficult to achieve, with drummer Stu Brown coming across as too loud and missing out on sensitivity of response to the more subtle bass line from Mario Caribe. Presented with Thacker’s dry sense of humour, the programme as a whole was a meeting of cultures across the ages but relevant to present times. In the world premiere of Asuramaya, the guitar’s role in particular was full of rhythmic and tonal complexities, evoking the music’s roots in the ancient Mayans of South America, the Middle East and the Carnatic traditions of South India.
Summerhall, 0845 874 3001, 21–23 Aug, 9.30pm, £10 (£8).