Rhythm and raga

Collaborative music

enthusiastic Gopinath on percussion dh photos by Janardhan b k

An interesting evening of French and Indian rhythms and beats had the four member group of Guy Mauffait, David Moszko, Ranjan Beura and Sangeeta Srikishen entertained the highly appreciative gathering at the Alliance Francaise recently. Titled Rhythm and Raga, the eclectic group of talented musicians from two countries, France and India, came together on an cultural exchange platform that produced some very interesting and enjoyable music.

Mauffait introduced the crowd to a new and unusual instrument called the Chapman stick which looks like a bodiless guitar with ten strings.

“The Chapman stick is made of special wood which interestingly enough is also grown in the state of Karnataka and is called Palisannder,” he explained.

Down in the City, Mauffait’s week-long stay at the World Music Centre in Malleswaram has been a collaborative effort with the other musicians that culminated in a series of programmes and concerts.

The group consisted of David Moszko on the saxophone, Ranjan Kumar on the violin, Gopinath Mohan on percussion and vocalist Sangeeta Srikishen, all making great music together combining elements of contemporary Western sounds and Indian classical notes.

Guy is a long time guitar player and was attracted to the Chapman stick when  he saw it being played on TV.  Fascinated by its rich soothing sound, he learned to play it himself and make it his signature instrument. The programme started off with a couple of original compositions by Mauffait himself named the Flower
of November and Crazy Crazy.

The tempo then went up a notch with traditional Spanish Celtic music before moving onto Gopinath, the percussionist who gave a rocking solo performance. The Indian compositions that were outstandingly presented were Turbulence, an eleven beat cycle of unusual rhythmic patterns, and Jog, a composition based on the Hindustani Raga of the same name.

The highlight of the evening was the vocal rendition by Sangeetha called the Maharajah Jazz. It was in fact an improvisation based on the Raga Gambheera Natai composed by Late Maharajah of Mysore himself Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar.
The climax of the evening was an Indo-French Jugalbandhi which had all the
elements of a rocking musical duel bringing the audience to its feet and ending the performance on a high note.

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