On the awesome tabla trail - The New Indian Express

On the awesome tabla trail

Published: 19th November 2012 10:06 AM

Last Updated: 19th November 2012 10:06 AM

Indian music makes me want to shut up and listen,” says Joscheba Schnetter. Golden haired and vibrant, the singer from Germany is on a four-city tour across India with her band of jazz veterans. First stop: Chennai. Chatting up the artiste at Vivanta by Taj-Connemara, amid a flurry of activity – instruments being moved, sound checks underway and generally prep time before their evening’s performance, the atmosphere is electric. Being her first trip to India, however, the 26-year-old vocal music teacher from Hamburg says she wants to soak up as much of the ‘desi atmosphere’ as possible. “I’ve even brought a small recorder that I’ve been carrying around with me,” she laughs. “I knew the sounds here would be very different from what I’m used to back home.”

With a choc-a-bloc week ahead — tons of travel, performances and perhaps a few collaborations with Indian artistes as well, there probably won’t be much time left between hotel rooms and stage venues. “But hopefully if we have the time, the whole band can attend a carnatic music concert,” Joscheba says excitedly. She quickly adds, “And one thing we see a lot with fusion jazz is those tabla drums.” Purchasing the instrument to carry may be a tall order with the crew’s heavy load of instrument luggage already. However, the singer hopes to try her hand at playing the tabla all the same. She gushes, “What I’ve heard is that here (India), you learn to speak the beats first. I think that’s wonderful, it makes the whole experience so much more organic.”

Looking back, she recalls how her tryst with music actually started just like for most other people – a rock band in school. “In high school, the 12th grade students had a band that needed a singer and so I signed up.” Going by the fact that she still sports black nail polish, it looks like the rock roots haven’t washed off her completely, not yet at least, “Well I still teach a few of my students pop, but jazz is where all my concentration is now.”

So what’s on the agenda for Chennai? Post her master class workshop with students of the Unwind Center, there are two things that are on her shopping list – “A big bag of Indian tea (which she’s heard and sipped a lot of) and a Kancheepuram silk sari,” she says.

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