That music has no boundaries is an indisputable fact, but how many artistes get a chance to throw the rule book out of the window? Our musicians have never shied away from experiments, but every change draws flak and applause in equal measures. However, this does not affect the efforts of those who try for something new in their art.
The third edition of Aadi Anant festival, with the theme Boundaries and Beyond, seeks to celebrate this vivacity with which artistic traditions keep redefining and rejuvenating themselves. With its cross-cultural collaborations, the festival focuses on telling an incredible story of musicians, especially instrumentalists, who are constantly expanding their horizons through newer and more interesting partnerships. Hence one can see flute maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia, tabla king Zakir Hussain, saxophonist George Brooks, Afro-German bassist Kai Eckardt, Egyptian pianist Osam Ezzeldin, Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto and jazz musicians merging not only Western and Indian cultures, but also the indigenous traditions of Indian classical music.
One wonders how the union of the studied tenor of the tabla, the rustic tempo of chenda and ilataalam and the restrained melody of the sarangi will come together. “The festival will showcase works that are deeply embedded in the tradition, and yet seek to reach out into the infinite depths of artistic traditions,” says Suvarnalata Rao of NCPA, which is organising the fest with Citi.
The artistes will attempt a musical dialogue across disciplines. The exploration of new ‘soundscapes’ will lead to a fiesta of unheard melodies and pulsating rhythms, which is sure to take listeners into a world of masterful innovation. “Indian classical music relies on innovation. The whole idea of improvising with the given boundaries forces a musician to find new ways to tell the same old story, creativity is at the heart of an Indian classical music performance,” says Hussain.
The flute maestro will be supported by Bhawani Shankar (pakhavaj), Jayanti Gosher (guitar) and Vijay Ghate (tabla) exploring and connecting various strands of music traditions starting with folk tunes. He plans to base his performance on that enchanting concept. “I am tracing the path of music, about how it changed hands from one generation of aadi manav to the learned scholars who knew how to break up music,” says Chaurasia.
Via other’s music
“Playing with musicians of diverse genres allows me a look into my music through their eyes and provides me the opportunity to find forgotten or overlooked musical ideas thus further enhancing my repertoire,” says Hussain. Brooks can’t agree more. “Finding a common ground for raga and western music has been at the core of my artistic expression for many years,” he says adding that classical Indian artists and jazz musicians express themselves best through improvisation. “Ultimately, improvisation is about self-discovery.”
“Music and rhythm are universal. All successful collaborations depend on the people involved, connecting at a heart-to-heart level. This connection will be fully achieved with this combination of artists. The desire is deeply planted among us and we are waiting to meet and celebrate our musical union,” concludes Hussain.