Bridge of Dreams

Bridge of Dreams is a major international collaborative work for 18-piece big band, Hindustani quartet (voice, harmonium, two tabla players) and saxophone soloist. This 70-minute work celebrates the creative dialogue between an exceptional group of musicians from Australia and India: Sandy Evans (composition/saxophone), Bobby Singh (tabla), all-female Sirens Big Band (led by Jessica Dunn) and international guests Shubha Mudgal (composition/voice), Aneesh Pradhan (composition/tabla) and Sudhir Nayak (harmonium).

This is a groundbreaking project featuring world-class practitioners committed to undertaking intercultural collaboration with mutual respect and equity. Sandy, Shubha and Aneesh are composing the music collaboratively and recently completed a creative development period on the project. Indian influences are mainly from Hindustani music, but include elements from Carnatic, sacred, folk, Bollywood, fusion and Indipop genres. From the jazz perspective, the music reflects Sandy and Sirens’ shared interest in combining big band jazz with grooves from Indian, African and Balkan traditions in innovative ways to express a contemporary musical worldview. This project builds on the artistic success of Sandy’s first composition for Sirens, the title track of their CD ‘Kali and The Time Of Change’.

Sonically, Bridge of Dreams draws on the rich musical palette of the musicians involved: Shubha and Sudhir’s richly nuanced raga expositions answered and supported by Sirens’ warm and luscious horn section; Aneesh and Bobby’s fiery and sophisticated tabla solos weaving in and out of jazz rhythm section ostinatos; breathtaking improvisational exchanges between saxophone and harmonium. Shubha is the lyricist and text consultant for the project. She has extensive knowledge of Indian texts and is renowned for her own song lyrics.

Key Artists

Bridge of Dreams was initiated by Sirens Big Band, a 17-piece ensemble featuring Sydney’s best young jazz musicians. Recipients of the Jann Rutherford Memorial Award, they played to 10,000 people as the house band for Sydney Festival’s Trocadero Dance Palace, and released their debut album, Kali and the Time of Change in 2013 following a residency at the prestigious Bundanon Trust. They have collaborated with Egyptian oud player, Mohamed Youssef, and US saxophonist, Claire Daly and commissioned numerous Australian composers. Sirens is led by bassist Jessica Dunn who has performed widely in Australia, the Middle East and US. “Sirens…live up to their fully deserved hype. Energy, emotion and subtlety are all precisesly balanced to craft an album that appeals to the jazz head with a sense of adventure.” Eastside Radio 89.7FM.

Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan, and Sudhir Nayak are internationally renowned Indian musicians with extensive knowledge of Hindustani music, and a strong track record of successful intercultural collaboration. They are pioneering new ways of thinking about intercultural music with groups like Asian Fantasy Orchestra (JAPAN) and Ensemble Modern (GER). They perform and record regularly in India and internationally.

Shubha is one of India’s most highly regarded Hindustani vocalists. She has received many awards including Padma Shri from the Government of India and the Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music at the Chicago International Film Festival. She is Visiting Research Professor at Goa University.

Aneesh is one of India’s leading tabla players. He was a presenter for the ABC radio series; “Perspectives – North Indian Classical Music”. He is Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Monash University and is also Bobby’s guru.

Sudhir is a skilled harmonium soloist and sensitive accompanist who plays with with many reputed vocalists. He is a recipient of the Saath Sangat Pravin Award.

Sandy, Bobby, Aneesh and Sudhir toured together in Ben Walsh’s ‘Fearless Nadia’ where they discovered a shared commitment to deepening the exchange of ideas between jazz musicians and Indian musicians. This led to a creative development period with Sandy, Aneesh and Shubha in Mumbai during Sandy’s 2014 Churchill Fellowship.

Tenor and soprano saxophone, composer