HYDERABAD: Dressed in casuals yet moving with the grace of a Bharatanatyam dancer, one can be forgiven to think Astrid Muller is Indian. Yet the German who has been learning Carnatic music for two years now, besides Bharatanatyam, has a rather keen interest in the Indian traditional arts.
Coming to the country and the city for the first time, Astrid conducted a workshop for novice learners at Lamakaan on Sunday evening. Focusing on the violin and vocals, Astrid’s easy going nature perhaps made the cultural gap less tricky to bridge. But the musician says its music that really helps traverse the different schools of thought.
“Music should send out positive energy,” she begins, adding, “It should not be divided into different sects, like Western music or Carnatic. Everyone should come together to promote the craft.”
Though an orchestra-musician, a teacher and vocalist, Astrid’s quest for all things music introduced her to the traditional Indian music form as well.
“Carnatic music is coming up in Germany; a lot of people are coming to know about it. I had a student, an Indian, who introduced it to me. That’s how I began learning it.” However, at the workshop, Astrid was in her element explaining the nuances of proper voice control and striking the right chords on the string instrument.
Organised by the Hyderabad Western Music Foundation (HWMF), a small but very keen group listened with rapt attention to her ministrations. That interest, she points out, is very important when it comes to music.
“It needs dedication and enthusiasm. Music has to be the centre aim of what we do,” she reiterates.
Playing the violin since she was five-years-old, the Southern German was quite impressed at the turn out at the workshop. “There is a lot of initiative being taken in Hyderabad with regards to Western classical music. There should be more workshops like these where musicians across the world can share their experience,” says the lady whose love for Indian music and dance brought her to the city.
She also added that she would like to see more projects where music is combined with dance. “I would love to do a fusion of carnatic and western classical,” she shares.
The workshop started with the opera piece ‘Aria’, a 17th century French poetry where a court announcer, the ‘crier’, announces the arrival of a beautiful woman. This was followed by a demonstration of vocal techniques.
Joe Koster, director at HWMF, says the main objective of the workshop was to engage the audience with learning the vocal techniques and making it more interactive.
The hour-long workshop concluded with a violin recital played by Astrid.