BENGALURU: In an age where Hindustani classical music is taking a back seat to item numbers, EDM and DJ grooves, a duo recently showcased Indian ragas integrating electronic processes.
MD Pallavi and Andi Otto took to stage at Goethe-Institut - Max Mueller Bhavan for a live show.
The two developed a concept to integrate the electronic processes applied in the studio seamlessly into a live show.
Andi performed the ‘fello’, a sensor for the bow of his cello that measures the movement and acceleration of the bow, as well as the applied finger pressure.
This data is used to control audio software that tweaks the amplified cello sound directly in relation to Andi's hand and arm gestures.
“The fello helps exploit every aspect of my surroundings to create music. It is like a small ecosphere that is created around that I channel for a musical output,” explains Andi.
Andi developed the 'fello' at STEIM in Amsterdam in 2007, using their junXion software for the data-to-sound mappings.
Pallavi and Andi worked for a month on developing a sensor-based gestural performance for her voice and hand for the show in Bengaluru.
“We call it the 'second voice'. We attached movement sensors to my hand and to the cello bow, which allows for a unique gestural interaction with electronic sounds produced by the voice and cello. At the end of the month-long lab session, we performed a duo at the Max Mueller Bhavan,” says Pallavi.
“I used to play the cello, but its sound was confined to the fine tuning of my fingers, breadth of the trumpet player and my muscle memory. This is when I decided to extend this sound beyond its restrictive nature,” says Andi, who lives in Hamburg, Germany.
Having played in Japan, Andi says, “I never thought, I'd be performing in Bengaluru some day with Indian ragas. Pallavi put her skills in Hindustani music to use to help us bring together a great ensemble.”
So, why did the two pick Bengaluru for their first experimental show? “I am from Bengaluru and it was convenient to do this in my home town. Goethe Institut, Bengaluru supported our project. But apart from that, the city has a thriving music scene and great audiences. We surely hope to come back and do a proper concert tour. Right now, we are excited about the international premiere of our project in Japan. Post that, we hope to perform both in India and Germany,” says Pallavi.
She has been training in Hindustani classical music since she was five years old. First from Pt Ram Rao Naik (of Goa) and then Pt Rajbhau Sontakke (of Benares). Pallavi has also been trained in Sugama Sangeeth (Kannada poetry set to music).
“In a solo performance project (C sharp C blunt), I worked with Andi where we explored the possibilities that technology offers to an actor on stage. Then one day in Hamburg I saw Andi practising the 'fello'. I immediately expressed a desire to extend this possibility to the voice,” she recalls.
Andi performs 'fello' solo, in duos with DJs or other musicians, and in large productions involving dance choreography.
“Andi is highly experimental, but delightful too. It allows for expressive playing with the processed sounds of the amplified cello. It is fascinating to see him work. I am looking forward to creating more music with him,” says Pallavi.