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Falu At Joe's Pub, Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, Reviewed

Falu's concert at Joe's Pub Tuesday night was a strange one. Part celebration for the birth of a song last year, part requiem for the passing of musical teach, part introduction of her second album, part Western, mostly Indian musical re-introduction to the great singer. And it didn't quite gel.

The problem was that there was a seriousness to the proceedings which Falu's "I'm having a blast" couldn't quite remove and the darkness hovering over the opening and losing numbers, were difficult to dispel. The latter was "Poojan", the last song off her album, and her husband, Gurav Shah, tells the story of their teacher Ustad Sultan Khan, getting into the zone one afternoon and Indian restaurant Dakar on 27th and Lex and singing the song. One of the happiest memories of his life, he claims, but the song is overwhelmed with sadness.

This sorry effects the set in strangeways. Falu was born to crossover, but tonight it was like a couple sitting at a table speaking in a language you don't speak: it seemed cordoned off, private. There was a new song, the sort of crossover Falu excels at, "Mystified" that just needed a push and a follow and she would have flown and she didn't do it, it didn't happen.

The songs sounded classical for the most part, Gurav's harmonium felt spooked, the violin solo sad, the extended rapport between the tom toms on a very upbeat number a little misplaced. Everything felt to be in not quite the right place and the ending was abrupt, they simply ran out of time.

Falu's second album will be released soon and it is called "Black Buffalo" -a touch cryptic, right? But my sense is that this wasn't what she was playing last night: this was a classically train singer paying tribute to her teacher and the pleasure in musical remembrance was always tempered.

She is considered a crossover artist but she wasn't much in the mood to crossover. There were other things on her mind.

Grade: B+

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