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MUSICAL CULTURES INTERLACE IN A UNIQUELY ARTICULATE AND HARMONIOUS SPACE

Andrew Goldberg (piano) and Ricky Romain (sitar) draw the listener into a beguiling musical landscape that draws on contrasting traditions from Europe and India.

Through friendship formed when the world ground to a standstill in March 2020, a musical partnership has emerged bringing to life a series of recordings that can genuinely be termed as being both remarkable and strikingly original.

In a time of global conflict and political divisionism the coming together of these two unique artists and their respective disciplines offers the listener a message of unlikely unity.

Michael Armstrong, ACM

‘Ricky and Andrew make extraordinarily robust but sensitive music, creating a fusion between the fluid intonation of Indian classical music with the more fixed and tempered sounds of the European piano. It is a path that few others have trodden as it has to be approached with respect and taste. Having heard some of their recordings it is clear that they have these qualities in abundance’

Sam Richards, Musicologist

‘Honoured to have been asked to lend an ear to the true artists behind this body of work’

John Robertson, Musician, Producer

ABOUT

Andrew Goldberg trained under Prof. Hugo Odenthal (Cologne Philharmonie). His work draws on both the Romantic period and contemporary minimalism of artists like Steve Reich and Philip Glass. He has collaborated with prominent classical Hindustani Pandits including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and was the main composer for choreographer Catherine Massin (CAMADACO).

Ricky Romain studied sitar and Indian Classical Music (ICM) with Punita Gupta, a disciple of Ravi Shankar and later with Bengali sitar player Pandit Gunguly. Romain is also a visual artist and is based in Devon.

GOLDBERG ROMAIN  •   LIVE

BRIDPORT ARTS CENTRE
with special guest John Robertson
BRIDPORT 15TH June 2024

BAC 2024 ANNUAL FILM FESTIVAL

THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC
GOLDBERG ROMAIN LIVE ACCOMPANIMENT
BRIDPORT 28TH April 2024

LYME REGIS REGENT CINEMA

AKA THE BLACK COW SALOON

with special guest John Robertson

LYME REGIS 11TH April 2024

CiC CiC
CREATIVE INNOVATION CENTRE
with special guest John Robertson
TAUNTON 19TH January 2024

CLOCKTOWER RECORDS

with special guest John Robertson

BRIDPORT 16th November 2023

ASHBURTON ARTS CENTRE

ASHBURTON 3rd November 2023

RECONNECTION FESTIVAL

GLASTONBURY 23RD JULY 2023

ST. PETER'S CHURCH

EYPE CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

with special guest Carlo Strazzante

HIGHER EYPE 22nd October 2022

 

On this day the Première and Album Launch took place at Eype Centre For The Arts (ECA), St. Peter's Church in Bridport.

Full House, Standing Ovation. 

'Thank you Bridport'

VARIATIONS  Review by Brian Harper

I looked and listened to the music on your website and was much impressed. The intimate fusion of sitar and piano was especially moving and created a rich sense of .exploration and peace. This surprising adventure combining instruments and music from two entirely different cultures, is perhaps an evolutionary step in the history of music. Over the last 30 years or so, I have heard a few other examples but none seemed to achieved the intimacy and sense of inner peace that Goldberg Romain create.

​2022 - 2023 VARIATIONS ALBUM RELEASE

21st JULY 2023 DIGITAL LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

On this day VARIATIONS for piano and sitar was digitally released and distributed worldwide by CD Baby. Download, Stream or Preview on all the usual Digital Platforms.

https://www.goldbergromain.hearnow.com

22nd OCTOBER 2022 LIMITED EDITION CD

On this day a limited edition CD of VARIATIONS for piano and sitar was released by The Music Room. To order a CD copy please contact us by email. goldbergromain@gmail.com

JULY 2022 THE RECORDING PROCESS

Variations is based on a sequence of improvisations and was recorded over a period of four days at The Music Room in Higher Eype, Dorset. The album is produced by Andrew Goldberg and the mastering conducted by John Robertson.

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2022 - 2024

REVIEWS COLUMN

GOLDBERG ROMAIN   •   REVIEWS

Helen Garrett (review of Joan of Arc BAC Film Festival 2024)

…and that I went to see Joan of Arc as part of the ‘Page to Screen’ festival and sat close beside Ricky and Andrew as they played, and lived a thousand lifetimes passing in their music, and watched the film with heartbreak that this story is real and continues to be.

 

Somehow the combination of ultimate suffering - Joan, alongside the very moving experience of music, balanced something.
 

The tenderness of Rickys single notes on the Sitar, the returning to theme of Andrews tenacious melodies and beauty…

They balanced the heart break with heart hope.

 

I sipped my wine at the end and thanked them but it was a tiny voice where a torrent of love and gratitude wanted to pick up their souls and dance with them...

Penelope Harrington

It was lovely to connect again with GOLDBERG ROMAIN on Fridays performance of Variations in Taunton. I loved the music – the musical conversation between Andrew and Ricky and then the crescendo reached together with John Robertson on guitar! I bought the CD on sale and all I can say is I found this music so comforting that I looked for a second in the sleeve, but alas only 1 was there!

Karim Noverraz, musician and author

I think it is the first time I hear  piano and sitar together - intuitively I wouldn't expect these 2 instruments to fit together, but they do indeed!

 

Then, it becomes  quickly clear that, despite the sound of the sitar and the raga, the two of you are not playing Indian music, you create your own sound - the phrases, the rhythmic patterns, the way Andrew accompanies the sitar on the piano - especially the chords!

 

It is a very refreshing experience! And next time we meet, I hope I have my instrument with me and I'd love to jam with you!
 

Laurence Anholt, Author and Artist

No doubt you will have received countless messages about last night’s concert, but wow…!

We wanted to let you know that we felt privileged to be present at that magical event. Andrew Goldberg and Ricky Romain are an amazing team and the blend of piano, sitar and tabla was unique and wonderful.

 

« To be able to transport an audience of that size, away from this troubled world into a realm of delight takes immense talent. I think the ten minute standing ovation shows that the entire audience felt the same way »

Richard Harvey. Human Rights Barrister with Green Peace

« Last night was breathtaking and soul-shaking. Thank you a thousand  times. I can't remember a rapturous reception like that in years »

Jeremy Asher, Solicitor

« Thank you for a fantastic evening of beautiful, extraordinary music. It was a delight!

Andrew Goldberg and Ricky Romain deserve critical acclaim for their work - wonderful »

Sam Knights KC

« A superlative collaboration of two masters, musicians in their fields.
A creation of an entirely unique sound which transported the audience to new realms. We were blown away »

Graham Treacher, Composer

This concert, played to a capacity audience was a unifying experience in many ways.

At a time of intense division between nations and cultures the event brought east and western art together, a fusion of two distinctive musical traditions, as well as, most importantly, filling the church with a series of dazzling variations for piano, sitar and percussion. The variations, four in number, in the memorable lines of the poet Stevie Smith ‘set the world in a dance’.

 

The fusion of east and western music is well established since the pioneer events of the late 1950’s with the ground breaking concerts of Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin. The distinctive feature of this evening was the entwining of the grand piano, sitar and percussion.

Andrew Goldberg and Ricky Romain, both local musicians, share the same joy of sonic adventure approaching from different directions through the nature of their respective instruments.

The modal flexibility of the sitar sounds in direct contrast with the equal temperament of the piano.

An Indian musician many decades ago asking perceptively why the western system of tuning was so full of holes !

The third variation commencing with solo piano illustrated this difference. Andrew Goldberg’s improvisation paid homage to the rich legacy of the solo piano mixed with his own fantasy.

 

« The dizzy heights of the trio, achieved over the evening a heightened sense of joy, skill and dynamic positivity that appropriately culminated in a standing ovation »

Robert Golden, Photographer and Film Maker

In this dark time, on a chilly late October evening, a recital, Variations for Piano and Sitar (and percussion) brought pellucid sounds to an overflowing audience. Each piece transported the body-swaying-head nodding audience members into a reverie, revealed at the end by an insistent applause: the unstated plea for an encore.

 

Ricky Romain’s scintillating sitar playing, married beautifully with Andrew Goldberg’s foundational support and mellow insinuations, and both continually accented by Carlo Strazzante’s always inventive percussion.

 

I was fortunate enough to hear these pieces evolve, to listen to the ever deeper understanding developing between Andrew’s western classicism and Ricky’s traditional Indian structures.

As they worked and rehearsed together, the music became a whole, with neither demanding increased credit and more attention for their instruments. 

 

Three world level musicians finding esteem and profound appreciation for the other’s artistry delivered joy to all of us in the splendid church suspended on a high rock above the sea. 

 

Seeing the musician’s head nods, smiles, raised eyebrows and more nods, as an audience member, it was all but magical to witness that ‘musician’s thing’, the ability to communicate musical ideas and intentions with these slight signs. Three men from three different countries and backgrounds united in harmonies by the effort to create breath-taking beauty.

 

Brecht was asked if those singing in his theatre would continue in the coming darkness. He said yes, although they may be singing of the darkness.

 

« If they play again, I and many other’s will be sure to be there »

Dr Roger Worthington - Climbing the heights of Creativity -

Andrew Goldberg and Ricky Romain make a formidable duo. Add Indian-African percussion and you have an ensemble that is capable of great things.

 

On paper, the piano and sitar are not natural companions: one instrument has fixed pitch and equal semitones, whereas the pitch of the other is flexible, using micro-tones and slides (known as meend). While the piano is capable of producing beautiful melodies, its strength comes from producing rich and varied harmonies. The sitar, on the other hand, is a melodic, solo instrument, and while it works well in ensemble, it normally takes the lead role, with other instruments in support. Here, the two instrumentalists shared the stage, and how well they worked together, showing tremendous creativity.

 

At the recital at Eype Centre for the Arts on October 22, 2022, Andrew and Ricky scaled the heights, giving the packed audience a feast for their ears (and their souls), interpreting Indian Classical music in wholly new ways.

 

While the first piece was challenging at first because of unfamiliarity with the sound combination, the ear soon became attuned, and the audience clearly enjoyed the second raag and the haunting melodies of Malkauns.

 

After the interval, the duo reached new pinnacles, giving for me, the best performance of the evening with the beautiful raag, Yaman, before finishing the recital with another favourite, Naavik Kee Nadee.

 

The sound quality was excellent and perfectly balanced, and it is good to know that the music they performed has all been recorded.

 

Their studio CD is available for others to listen to and for people like myself to have the chance to listen to it all again.

 

The atmosphere at the event was extraordinary, and the performers rightly received a standing ovation at the end.

 

« I look forward to hearing more from this ensemble, and congratulations to the organisers for making it happen. It was a memorable experience, all the sweeter for being able to enjoy live music again after all the pandemic restrictions »

Jane Carling, Sitar student. - not fusion.. alchemy ‘goldain’ -

This was a night that everyone present knew was precious. The interlacing of two pivotal musical traditions, Western and  Indian Classical, both teased out the music in terms of rhythm, harmony and variation way from the centre and enriched it by overlapping and interweaving, diverging and converging. And there was no confusion. The sounds of the sitar and the piano, different in every way, led the audience to listen to their exquisite and fragile balance, increasingly sensitive to the sympathetic echoes, responses and improvisations. Variations in deed.

 

The chapel lent its luminosity to the music; we were all caught in its spirit. But the event was no soft option. Ambitiously the concert opened with the original and complex Kirvani Matta Taal challenging and engaging the listener into their own understanding of the instruments, searching for the structure and what the music was going to be. On the other hand the variations on Yaman Bhajani were lyrical, easy to follow, and emotive.

 

« Throughout, the range and the depth and the sheer beauty of the music convinced us all that we were in the company of extraordinary musicians whose work together resulted in music that will last in the memories of those who heard it and prove inspirational »

Gordon and Suzanne Higgott, Variations Review

We received the Variations CD today, thank you very much, and have listened to all four tracks.

They are wonderful variations, with some magical melody lines, especially in the slower Variation III.

The last variation is mesmeric and highly original. It is a superb ending to the recital. I am wondering about the ‘D gipsy’ key signature — whether it reflects ‘gipsy’ traditions of some kind. We love the perfectly regular pulse of the music, which holds us to the changing melody lines all the way through. We will listen again with much pleasure.

 

« The piano and sitar work together beautifully and give the music a strongly classical character. I even thought I heard a theme from Bach’s Goldberg variations at one point!  »

 

Many congratulations to Andrew and Ricky on a wonderful album, and thank you again for sending us this fabulous CD.

Michael Armstrong, ACM

« The premiere performance and album launch of 'Variations', Andrew Goldberg and Ricky Romain's collaborative album, offered one of those rare live moments where venue, artist and audience were  in perfect sync »

 

As autumn was taking hold, Eype's Centre for the Arts offered us warmth from a performance that spoke of two distinct traditions, engaged in a romantic dialogue that held the audience in thrall.

Across 4 movements or Variations, drawing from their contrasting disciplines, the pair recalibrated the idea of 'fusion', marrying piano and sitar in a display of eloquent musical friendship, ably accompanied by Carlo Strazzante on percussion. The beauty offered by Andrew's romantic piano refrains, set alongside the exoticism of Ricky's sitar brought to Eype, music that was sonorous but equally delicate, refined, and demanding of your attention.

In these challenging times where cultural differences can stoke hatred, we could learn much from the coupling and articulation we witnessed this evening.

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