Playing it with perfection

Playing it with perfection

It’s a rarity to see a boy as young as Sam Baker playing western classical music with such ease. The music scholar from the Oxford University plays the piano and organ with such perfection that one would wonder if he was born on them. Speaking to Metrolife about his love for India and his inspirations in music, Sam says that he is already looking forward to his next show in the country. 

This is his second visit to India and he thanks his Bangalore-based best friend Abhimanyu Arni, who he met at the Oxford University, for bringing him here. 

“His family has ‘semi adopted’ me,” he laughs. Having spent a month and a half in India, Sam cherishes every little experience in the country. “I went to Delhi, Rajasthan and Goa as well. I performed in Goa and attended the Jaipur Literature Festival and an art fair in Delhi. I also visited Jaisalmer though I was dreading the overnight train journey,” he jokes. 

Beautiful music fills the air when his fingers dance on the piano and organ. Ask him on how the journey began and he says, “I started playing the piano when I was nine and organ when I was 16.” From teaching music in New Zealand to organising tours and concerts for the Pembroke College Chapel Choir across Europe, Sam has travelled a lot. 

“Though my home is Oxford, I keep packing my bags and going somewhere,” he notes. Interestingly, the next place on his list is India again. “I hope to come back next winter and play here again,” he quips. Apart from performing, he would also like to explore the incredible India some more. “I would love to visit the mountains of North India, especially Ladakh,” he says. On being asked if that tour will be on a bike, he replies excitedly, “Really? You can do that? I must!”

Sam’s inspirations range from J S Bach to Bob Dylan. “You will see a lot of Bach in my concerts while I’m a big fan of Bob Dylan’s poetry and music. As far as bands are concerned, my favourite is ‘Queen’,” he informs. Indian music touches him too. 

“When I was in Rajasthan, I listened to a lot of Rajasthani music and just loved the tabla and the textiles worn by the women. I even purchased a book called ‘A Southern Music’ by TM Krishna, which was recommended by Amartya Sen. With this, I hope to learn more about Carnatic music. While Carnatic is meditative, Hindustani is more fast-paced,” he reveals. 

Though he is in love with the City, he is looking forward to the “fresh air of home” as he puts it. “I was looked after so well here. I’m truly humbled,” he says. 

His concerts are interactive and according to him, the only way western classical music can survive is when artistes like him talk about it. “You got to push yourself,” he sums up. 

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