Breaking barriers through music

Fusion Extravaganza

Netherland’s famous Dutch jazz ensemble Spinifex Orchestra teamed up with Dr Suma Sudhindra, the foremost veena exponent and mesmerised the audience on January 22 at India International Centre (IIC) on the occasion of the centre’s golden jubilee celebration.

Classic blend: Dutch jazz ensemble Spinifex Orchestra.

This unique musical collaboration brought out the best of Carnatic music and Dutch jazz with expressive improvisations and thrilling rhythms that were woven together with classy instrumentations and rich compositions. New works written by Spinifex members and Dr Suma showed off the talents of the musicians and created a new hybrid between jazz and Carnatic music.

On the occasion, one of the band members Tobias Klien said, “We are very happy to have performed here. The crowd was amazing and they really enjoyed our performance. We have to learn more of the Carnatic music and we are gradually taking our path ahead. It was an amazing experience to play music along with Suma Sudhindra, the combination was amazing and we are looking forward for more events like these.”

The Spinifex have travelled pan India and Delhi was its last leg. It has performed in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. This fusion of jazz and Carnatic music showed the collaboration and strength between the two countries.

Dr Suma said, “This is lifetime experience. It was amazing. It’s more fascinating because this time we used so much wind instrument. The composition is South Indian Classical music i e, Carnatic music.”

She also added, “It was a challenge in itself to amalgamate the creativity of two different groups from two different parts of the world and it came out really well.”

Spinifex is the flagship ensemble of the Karnatic Lab Foundation. Constantly seeking out the challenge of crossing stylistic borders, the non-western world music encountered western jazz in India with this performance. The music, written by Gijs Levelt, Tobias Klein and Ned McGowan was steeped in influences from Carnatic music. The Spinifex Orchestra, who represented the cream of Dutch jazz outfits, have often been compared with the broad sounds that were Charles Mingus’ trademark. This, superimposed over Dr Suma’s definitive veena tunes, that provided a fascinating experience to music lovers.

The band consists of Ned McGowan on flute, Tobias Klein on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, Joost Buis on trombone, Dion Nijland on bass Uli Genenger on drums along with Dr Suma on veena, Anoor Sharma and Pramath Kiran on percussion.

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