A blend of Indian, Greek, and Persian melodies filled Music 3400, awing listeners at the performance of the band Wahid during the free Thursday concert May 17.
Wahid, which means “one” or “togetherness” according to the group, is comprised of multi-instrumentalist Dimitris Mahlis and percussionist Chris Wabich.
The performance was full of loud, exotic music that was “full of improvisation,” as Wabich explained to the audience.
“Today we took a few new turns and played on the hyper end,” Wabich said.
During the concert, Mahlis played the oud, which he described as the guitar of the Middle East and Mediterranean and the oldest stringed instrument in the world.
“It’s something that’s in our culture,” Mahlis said. “The sound is very beautiful. “
Wabich played frame drums, which are one-sided drums where the frame is larger than the surface, which he built custom to the needs of the band.
“Usually drums have no bass to them,” Wabich said. “I built mine oversized, which had the unexpected effect of adding bass and allowing me to play a perfect tuned octave.”
The talent of Wahid was not lost on sociology major Wendy Escalante, 22, who was thrilled with the change of pace.
“It was very wonderful, very different from other concerts,” Escalante said. “Usually it’s a violin, piano, or other classical instrument, but they went with old-fashioned instruments.”
Rajat Sabharwal, 20, was simply awed by the performance.
“I liked the blend of these instruments,” Sabharwal said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Wahid was formed approximately 15 years ago after they decided to stop their solo careers and form a band, particularly because both shared an interest in playing Middle East and Mediterranean music.
“We both had a passion for this style of music,” Mahlis said. “Since we had heard each other play before, we decided to take a shot at a band, and we’ve been playing ever since.”
Both members have been playing music for many years. Mahlis has played since he was 12-years-old, but started the oud at 28, while Wabich has played percussion since he was 7 years old.
Mahlis played several instruments before the oud, mostly stringed, but became interested in the oud because of his cultural roots.
“Just hearing it was very profound,” Mahlis said.
Wabich can’t remember a time when he didn’t play drums, starting at an early age with a spoon and a saucepan in his mother’s house.
“I just like rock music,” Wabich said. “[Percussion] is kind of like a piano in that you can play one note in harmony with another instrument.”
The free Thursday concert series of this semester has one last performance May 24 at 12:45 p.m. at Music 3400 featuring the Pierce Student Concert.