A western-Indian fusion music concert isn’t exactly a new concept. Yet, there’s something intriguing about the prospect of a saxophonist-flautist performing with a santoor player to the beats of the kanjira (a popular south Indian percussion instrument).
This Saturday, acclaimed santoor player Rahul Sharma will collaborate with South African saxophonist and flautist Buddy Wells and percussionist Selva Ganesh. The concert called Milan (organised by Banyan Tree) will aim to bring the west and the east closer through music. The idea behind the concert is to experiment with sounds and music patterns. “I have grown up with indigenous South African music and jazz. But collaborating with a soft instrument like santoor and the kanjira will be interesting and challenging. I’m excited about putting myself to the test,” says Wells.
Last year at Milan, Sharma had collaborated with acclaimed French pianist Richard Clayderman. This time, he hopes for a performance that’s just as novel. “The three of us are coming together for the first time. It will be very innovative because all the improvisations will happen directly on the stage. We will only have broadly discussed the performance a day before,” explains Sharma.
Adds Well, “I played with Rahul in a concert in 2008, but it was just a 10-minute performance. I’m glad that this time we’ll get enough time to communicate in the language of music.” Ganesh, on his part, is glad that through such concerts, the kanjira will get more recognition. “Kanjira is the second-most popular percussion instrument in south India after the mridangam. I’m glad that I’ll get a chance to demonstrate it to a wider audience,” says Ganesh.
Sharma, who will perform some compositions from his latest album, Namaste India, is also looking forward to performing in front of his father, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, who will attend the concert as a guest. “I’m glad that I’ll get to perform in front of my father, who is also my guru,” he says.