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‘Our music is in danger’

Grammy-nominated flautist, Pt Ronu Majumdar feels reality shows and fusion music can help classical music survive. Monica Patel speaks to him.

art and culture Updated: Oct 28, 2009 19:33 IST
Monica Patel

Grammy-nominated flautist, Pt Ronu Majumdar feels reality shows and fusion music can help classical music survive. Monica Patel speaks to him.

When did you first start getting interested in fusion music?
My guru Pandit Ravi Shankar and I were on tour in Moscow in 1998 and that’s when I first collaborated with the Western Music Chamber Orchestra. In a sense, fusion for me means collaboration.

How did Vibrations come into being?
I believe in the concept of ‘vibrations’. When I met the musicians of my band, I got vibrations of Buddhism and spirituality from them. So, for me, Vibrations is more than just the name of my band.

Do you think fusion music is necessary to attract younger crowds towards classical music?
Yes, I do think that it’s important but today, anything is mixed, matched and sold in the name of fusion and so there is lot of confusion in young minds. In my case, I’m using the concept of a ‘band’ to get across to the youth.

Are enough young musicians learning the bansuri today?
Though young people are learning the bansuri, there is definitely a concern of survival of the form. Our music is in danger. In my era, there was no commercial aspect but today, instrumentalists are finding it very difficult to survive. TV especially has no scope for classical music or vocals.

Please go on.
The need-of-the-hour for classical musicians to survive are reality shows on pure Indian classical music. I want the originality of Indian classical music to survive.

The corporate world should realize the responsibility to preserve classical music and sponsor such events or our music will be relegated only to small private groups in the future.

Have you approached television channels for such a show?
I would love to make such a show, if I get corporate backing. In fact, I did approach a television channel with such a concept but (sighs) I don’t know where it fell short. I am willing to take time out from my concerts to preserve my art, but I still need producers to help me out.

How is your school for Indian music, Sadhana, doing? What do you have to say about the talent in your school?
It’s doing quite well. We have many NRI students and a few American students as well. The students have already started performing worldwide, so yes, Sadhna is progressing slowly but surely.

You are coming up with two albums soon. Tell us about them.
One is Flute Fantasy with DJ Nasha. This is the first time I’m collaborating with a deejay and the album is a style I’ve never tried before. The other album is with Bombay Jayshree. Anoushka Shankar and I are also planning to collaborate soon too. I am also looking to contribute to films again.

The album with Bombay Jayshree would be special since you both have been collaborating since a long time.
(Smiles) Jayshree and I are childhood friends. We’ve just been busy with our respective concerts all the way. But I recently thought that the bansuri, in collaborations with vocals, would sound fantastic. I approached Jayshree, and she instantly agreed to collaborate.