French duo Deep Forest has experimented with fusing electronic with lesser-known folk melodies from Africa, Brazil and even Japan in the past. With the vast diversity that abounds in India, it seems only fitting that the Grammy Award-winning world music band came looking here.
For their album Deep India, they collaborated with santoor player Rahul Sharma, who selected tunes from across India for the project. And the job was far from easy, given that every region in the country has its own rich legacy of folk music. “It was challenging because I had to be true to the title of the album and research on the best tunes we could take,” says Sharma. The album, out on Sony Music, features eight tracks based on folk tunes from Jammu, Assam, Gujarat among other regions, whose local music hasn’t been explored much. “The album also features tribal tunes from Kerala, as well as chants from Madikeri, Coorg. And there is also a catchy Bihu melody, apart from a folk song from Maharashtra that features dhols,” says Sharma.
Eric Mouquet of Deep Forest adds, “I have tried to put all my music background together. I believe we could make many albums on the music from India. This is Deep India season one. Maybe we could also have season two.” Sharma adds, “Working on this album was very different. Deep Forest has a great following, and to work with Eric was very enriching. Plus, unlike my other collaborations in the past, the santoor isn’t in the forefront in these songs; the folk music from India is.”
Sharma and Mouquet are also looking forward to performing in Bengaluru on December 13. “I have come to India once before, in 1996, but never performed here. My musicians are very excited to play in India,” says Mouquet.