An India-Scotland musical voyage
We know of the many collaborations that Indian artistes have had with their foreign contemporaries. British Council’s Folk Nations Performance brings together the Indian and Scottish folk tunes in a fusion performance However, the folk music has always been a less trodden path. Indian sarangi artist Suhail Yusuf Khan and Scottish fiddler Patsy Reid along with Ghatam Udupa and tabalchi Shariq Mustafa, will combine the structural and technical intricacies of two different genres of music.
Reid talks about the instant connect the artistes had. She says, “I first met Suhail at British Council’s Folk Nations residency in Kolkata in February 2013 and was blown away by both the Sarangi and his beautiful, technically outstanding but also lyrical playing. We swapped a couple of melodies and he showed me how to practise the slides as an Indian violinist would do, which I found quite difficult. Suhail is the perfect collaborator — he is as keen to learn new styles as he is to share his own and I think we are both keen to delve deeper into each other’s repertoire and see what happens.”
She adds that Indian music is exciting in a way that is exclusive to its structure and technicality “Structurally, it is so different from traditional Scottish music, yet modally there are some uncanny similarities. On that first Folk Nations collaboration, there were many instances where songs and melodies were based upon exactly the same mode or raga, yet it was the order and rhythm of the notes that made it sound particularly Indian or Scottish. Indian folk music is daunting though,” she says.
Suhail, who hails from Delhi says, “That is the best part about the collaboration. What started as a casual experiment during February this year is now become a full fledged concert. The unique feature about collaborations is that artistes don’t have to know each other or speak the same language. Yet, they can make magic with music.”
Both the artistes acknowledge the fact that it will be a totally new experience to perform in a city that is steeped in music.
“I come from a family of musicians and have heard about experiences they have had in Chennai. Some of my favourite musicians are from here — A R Rahman and M Balamuralikrishna. People here are aware of music and its intricacies. That is very exciting for me as an artiste,” he says.
Folk Nations will be staged at Boardwalk, Ramada Egmore on September 19 at 7;30 pm.