BANGALURU :After Time is a Blind Guide released their first album last fall, Thomas Strønen, the Norwegian jazz band’s drummer-composer, sent a copy to Bengaluru’s slide guitarist Prakash Sontakke.
“I played it on loop in my car,” Sontakke says. “Thomas and I had done three tours already, but I thought it would be great to play with the entire band.”
So he invited Kit Downes (piano), Håkon Aase (violin) and Ole Morten Vågan (bass), along with Strønen, to Bengaluru. They’ve had three gigs so far, one of them a Chennai flood relief fundraiser, and have one today at Phoenix Marketcity, Whitefield. Cellist Lucy Railton, also part of Time is a Blind Guide, is occupied with a music fest in London.
“We heard 300 people have died in the floods in Chennai,” says Strønen. “I hope we’ve raised enough funds to make a difference. But I think the organisers were expecting a better turnout for the event.”
The double bass guitar for the shows was hard to come by — Vågan had to lug a ‘travel version’ of the mammoth instrument along. “He asked me if we could organise one, but the only double bass in Bengaluru is a bad one,” says Sontakke.
Vågan’s performance evoked an ‘emotional’ response as most people in the audience had never listened to a double bass live. “We need more people investing in musical instruments like the double bass and the grand piano.”
Ask them if Indian music is appreciated in Europe, and they respond in affirmative. “Classical music has a lot of takers in Europe, but Bollywood only pulls the Indian community living there,” says Strønen.
It’s sad that NRIs believe Bollywood music is the only connect they have to their culture, adds Sontakke. “Indian music is so much more than Bollywood numbers.”
Perhaps the Internet has helped people become more aware of music from across the world, says Downes. “I’m doing a workshop with music students in the city, and thanks to Facebook posts and YouTube videos, they are already familiar with the jazz scene in England,” says the British musician.
Time is a Blind Guide members also add that they have taken to buying music physically once more. “Otherwise, you download so much. I realised I had 1 TB of music on my hard drive,” says Vågan. “So I buy CDs now. After all, that’s how I learnt in the first place.”
the ensemble Time is a Blind Guide was formed a couple of years ago when Fiona Talkington, who hosts BBC music show Late Junction, approached Strønen to come up with a new line-up. He then roped in the other four artistes.