African beats to Indian songs

Blending music
Last Updated : 25 October 2010, 14:03 IST
Last Updated : 25 October 2010, 14:03 IST

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The weekend turned out to be a musical one for many people in the City, who came to Alliance Francaise to listen to Shoonya, a world music band. The crowd, mostly consisting of young culturally inclined population, began to gather quite early on the day of the event.

The energy was high and many were given a brief introduction to the music while the band rehearsed before the main event. Shoonya had something different in store for the music lovers of the City –  it introduced the listeners to West African music in their songs.

Shoonya, as a band, seeks to create its own dialect, culled from influences that range from folk music, Carnatic and Hindustani music and its varied set of artistes do the same.
Breaking the cultural, social and ethnic frontiers, they created a community experience for a diverse audience through their music.

The artistes for the evening were Ashok Kumar and Guy Roger on Djembe, an African Drum; Sumathi, Chitra and Wilfried on vocals; Shridhar on saxophone, Suman on flute; Armel on Kora, an African string instrument;  Landry on Djembe and vocals and Ashwin on percussion.

The first song of the evening was Wake up which was dedicated to the fast pace of life that everyone has in the City. Rhythmic and fast paced, the song did complete justice to its theme and was met with a huge applause.

This was followed by the soulful He je Matad, a Kannada song written by Lalit Ramiah.
Surprisingly, this folk song, about war, was sung with African beats by the musicians from West Africa who had joined the band for the evening.

The song started with a loud beating of the drums and was both passionate and
moving. The vocals by Sumathi and Chitra were beautiful and they sang the highest of the pitch so easily that it was unbelievable.

Oud was another wonderful dedication to Africa. The musical instrument formed the inspiration for the band to create a song which was peppy with an extensive use of the saxophone.

The light vocals used in the background made it breathtaking. Nisa introduced the audience to Armel, a traditional Kora player, from Africa. The musical instrument had 21 strings, 11 of which were played by him with his left hand and the rest by his right hand.
The song itself was extremely beautiful and had everyone glued to their seats.

The uniqueness of this concert was undoubtedly the Indian musicians playing with their African counterparts and the beautiful result of the amalgamation of the two.

Published 25 October 2010, 14:01 IST

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