A ‘Melange’ of world class music
By dhanushag | Published: January 27 2010
Seven world-class musicians, from various parts of the globe came together at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, on 26th January to create a musical spectacle
Music across borders- ‘Melange’
, signifying a confluence of musical styles, bought together world class performers, across genres on a single platform. Featuring Tim Ries on the saxophone, Kevin Hays on the piano, Karsh Kale
on percussion, Katayoun Goudarzi on vocals, Ustaad Shujaat Khan on sitar, Karl Peters on bass and Yogesh Samsi on tabla, Melange has finished the Hyderabad and Bangalore leg of their tour, and will continue in Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi till the 31st of Jan’10 as part of the Seagram’s 100 Pipers Pure Music Concert Series.
From L-R :Yogesh Samsi, Karsh Kale, Ustaad Shujaat Khan, Katayoun Goudarzi, Tim Ries, Kevin Hays, Karl Peters. Photograph: Manish Gunjan
Even though the artists claimed to be in a sleep deprived state when they were interacting with the media on 26th morning, their performance at Chowdiah, later that evening was electrifying. Each musician complemented each other to create a two hour musical extravagance. In a special moment during the concert, Ries played a Romanian flute that he mentioned to have picked up from a gypsy woman in Budapest. The mystical mountain tune of the flute, with Samsi’s fingers working magic in the tabla, there wasn’t a single music lover in the crowd who wasn’t spellbound. Goudarzi’s sensuous rendition of the Iranian ghazals completed the equation to make the melange a musical marvel.
Speaking about the kind of music that they do, Goudarzi said, “Quite honestly, we couldn’t come up with an answer to that question. When you are among a set of great musicians, with character similarities, the music happened very naturally. It was almost like a marriage between the all of us, which kept us totally in tune with one another and that was what made it really enjoyable”. Looking back at their Hyderabad concert sitar maestro Ustaad Khan, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed myself. All music is impromptu, and it is sheer enjoyment for getting together and creating some music. It’s like a baby being born, a new creation of sorts” Reacting to a question put forward by a member of the media, as to if they had anything special lined up for Republic day, Khan said, “these are all gimmicks, like telling a woman I will create a ‘raag’ in your name. But, in our case it’s about creating good music, and thoroughly enjoying ourselves, and giving the audiences a good time as well.”
The masterful Ustad Shujaat ALi Khan flanked by teh ace percussionist Karsh Kale & the statesque Katayoun Goudarzi
The artists agreed that India has become a lot more open to music that is not essentially ‘Bollywood’ “There has always been an evolution of music here in India, and shows like this are making collaborations of this nature more possible” said the unstoppable drummer Karsh Kale
. Sitarist, and vocalist, Khan added, “India is India. The county has a great musical tradition, and the fact is that music comes naturally to us.” Responding to Khan’s observation, Kevin Hays added, “It’s very interesting because we have a similar problem in the States. I’ve really had very little exposure to traditional Indian history of music. But, I am pretty excited about this venture, and the basic theme that we are trying to explore here is to reach out, and in a sense we have a lot of similarities- in the sense of a common goal.”
Each of the artists spoke about the difficulties that they had while working together, and each of them said except for sleep deprivation, they worked in perfect sync. Bassist Karl Peters said, “Musicians at a very solid standard level are extremely sensitive of each other. The sensitivity of musicians is that they are always listening to each other”. Speaking of a memorable experience that the eight of them shared, Goudarzi said, “Back in April when we got together in a studio for the first time, we worked on the album ‘Dawning’, and from the time we started till the end, we were finished with it in 4-5 hours. And, that’s how easy it was for us to work together, we were in perfect sync”
Taking up the topic of how Melange was truly a concept of playing music, breaking cultural borders, Ries said, “Our collaboration automatically becomes a social message. The world has become such a smaller place, and we are musicians, who have always remained a bit ahead of the curve as compared to politicians. The Government can’t help but fight. And it’s only a 2 percent of the population that wants war, but the remaining 98 percent are regular folks trying to lead regular lives.”