Distinct styles come together

Distinct styles come together

To celebrate ‘Francophonie’ — an organisation of French-speaking countries — the Embassy of Switzerland in association with Alliance Francaise recently organised a performance by a Swiss duo, comprising vocalist Sylvie Bourban and classical guitarist Mattias Windemo.

   Each had their own distinct sound and style and when they played together, their music found a whole new meaning.

   The setting was quite romantic, with just two spotlights on the performers while the rest of the auditorium watched in darkness. Sylvie began with Randy Newman’s ‘I Think It’s Going To Rain Today’ and her soothing voice seemed to transport the listener to a little café somewhere in Europe, where the mood is just right for an acoustic concert. She sang with passion as Mattias played effortlessly, both charming the eager audience who applauded after each song.

It was an eclectic selection of songs, both in French and English. They performed numbers like Leonard Cohen’s ‘In My Secret Life’, ‘Blackbird’ by ‘The Beatles’ and even Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ in the non-jazz genres.

   For the jazz lovers in the crowd, it was a delight to hear their rendition of Tom Waits’ ‘Johnsburg, Illinois’, Quincy Jones’ ‘Miss Celie’s Blues’ and the expected French-English number, ‘Autumn Leaves’, among others.

   Even those who could not understand the French songs felt the emotions with which they were sung. 

   “It was really touching to watch them and personally, I loved how the music conveyed the emotions and messages behind the songs. The passion was very strong and tangible,” says Sandeep Shrivatsav, a student of French language. Still, some were disappointed that the focus was not completely on jazz.

   “I expected a lot more jazz, which wasn’t there. But I really enjoyed the blues and the kind of songs they played. She has a wonderful voice and he is very good on the guitar,” says Mohanraju, an audience member.

Sylvie justifies the lack of jazz saying, “One can find jazz in the harmonies, improvisation and the fact that we can never do the same song in the same way twice.” Asked how it was to perform in Bangalore, she smiles and replies, “The audience was really warm and appreciative.

The openness to music really helps us when we play to new listeners.”

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