In October, the Kerala Museum in Kochi reverberated with the sounds of the violin, saxophone, cajon, drums, tambourine, piano, mridangam, hand cymbals, khanjari and the maraca. As part of the Beyond Kochi Sounds concert, the band Sanyog performed to a cheering audience.
The various instruments speak of the vast repertoire that the band boasts: Iranian pianist Hami Keivan, Polish saxophonist Jerzy Maczynski, violinist Apoorva Krishna (all three of them recently completed their master’s from the Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain), and Bengaluru-based Carnatic musicians Vinod Shyam and Sunaad Anoor.
Apoorva has been the driving force behind Sanyog—what she decodes as: “A confluence of world genres, a collaboration, or a coming together.” The group met for the first time in Bengaluru just three days before their Kochi concert and jammed together for 10 hours at a stretch. The majority of the compositions were created by Apoorva. There were two works by Hami who played the melodies of one of Iran’s notable composers, Abol-Hasan Saba (1902-57), as well as Iranian jazz while Jerzy played Polish jazz.
For Jerzy, India has been a startling introduction. The streets, pot-holes, strays, honking buses, cars and autorickshaws, all enamoured him to the country, he says with a smile. “Not to mention, the dusky beauties,” interjects Vinod.
For the audience, the coming together of diverse cultures was a celebration. Alphons Joseph, Mollywood music director, says, “Apoorva is a trained Carnatic violinist and since she studied at the Berklee College of Music, she could bring a wide range of genres in her compositions. I was also very impressed by Hami, who introduced me to Iranian music.
Even everyone coming together resulted in a new and unique sound. Something like different colours mixed together to form a new colour.”
The Carnatic musicians, however, agreed that it was challenging to arrive at the same wavelength with Hami and Jerzy. Apoorva says, "I belong to the East but studied in the West, so I understood the difficulties for Vinod and Sunaad. The sounds were different. All of us were out of our comfort zones and improvising as we went along."
Apporva’s father Murali Krishna, who doubles up as the manager of the band, says, “Innovation is the key. It is a judicious mix of Indian classical, Iranian classical and Polish jazz. This is the music of the future. It will be accepted because cultures are uniting and music is at the forefront of this change.”