A distinguished composer and vocalist, Gabriel Dharmoo mixes musical styles to create discourse and dialogue. He’s an artist interested not only in music, but in what it can represent, and how it can be used to interrogate our cultural assumptions. An intellectual artist in the best sense, Dharmoo is equally concerned with beauty and meaning. In this performance he appears onstage by himself, singing foreign, exotic chants and other ritual music. The exorcisms of one tribe, the sung theatre of another—it’s all very fascinating, and our interest is further piqued by what appears onscreen behind the singer: various anthropologists and other humanities experts, holding forth on the origins and meaning of these vocalizations.
Guess what? It’s all fake. Dharmoo has executed a double-axel spin of the imagination, creating new cultures and assigning them interpretations to match. His purpose is quizzical and satirical; his creations hold a light up to our own cultural perspectives, provoking us to examine the way we look at others. We in the West have our own eccentricities, among them Eurocentrism and orientalism, and here they are on display. What the performer does here is bring us to an imaginary world so that we may find ourselves. His work is funny, whimsical and boldly original.