Latin jazz trio Jazzeando: Blending music and culture

  • Aishwarya S Iyer, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 20, 2015 10:24 IST

The Latin jazz trio Jazzeando performed on Friday at Alliance Francaise de Chandigarh. All three artistes hail from three countries spread across continents. We have Emmanuel Simon from Paris, Pradyumna Singh Manot from Kolkata and Megan Powers from New York.

This is the first time the trio is performing in Chandigarh. While speaking to Hindustan Times they talked about their journey to where they are now.

Pradyumna (30) and Emmanuel (30) have been collaborating for some time now, while Megan (27) is the new entrant.

Tell us a little about yourself, all three of you.

Pradyumna: I am from Kolkata and began to play the piano when I was six, an instrument my father played. My training included learning the tabla and Hindustani classical music. My first official performance was at the age of eight. I had played the piano for a radio show and was excited to earn Rs 125 and spent it all on chocolates.

Emmanuel: I began to play the piano when I was six and was eventually drawn to various music instruments after. I am a full-time musician and compose music for various endeavours. My first performance was when I was 15 at a local bar at my home town with friends, in Paris.

Megan: I had been working at a private firm in New York for several years and I left all of it eight months ago to chase my dream of being a musician. It is scary to leave a job that provides you security and stability. However, I think these things find a way to you. I am glad I chose to be a singer and I have a great time playing with these two.

When did Megan enter this trio?

Pradyumna: Megan is great. She is a trained salsa dancer and teaches yoga, rather multi-talented. When the three of us met, things just clicked.

Megan: I was following a particular NGO in Kolkata. After leaving my job I came to do some volunteer work with them when I met Pradyumna. We jammed one evening and that is how I was introduced to Emmanuel.

What do you have to say to youngters in the city who want to follow a career in music?

Pradyumna: I think it is most important to persevere for things that make you happy and drive you, quite like Megan. You can never get a guarantee on returns, you might be successful or you might not. However without happiness all of it amounts to nothing.

What drove you to come to India and learn its music?

Emmanuel: I have been very lucky to find my guruji in Shankar Ghosh. I came to India to learn about the instruments, culture, classical and folk music. I feel the tabla is the most difficult instrument to learn. While here, I am pursuing my PhD in Bengali folk percussion.

Pradyumna: I think Emmanuel is absolutely brilliant. While grasping the music he has also synced in effortlessly with the culture. He speaks fluent Bengali, wears a dhoti and eats with his hands.

Is there any similarity between western and Indian music?

Emmanuel: There are certain similarities which are very basic. Jazz and Indian music are similar in the way that there is the presence of a theme with scope for improvisation. However, the music diverges soon after to carve a niche for itself.

Has the environment in India become more conducive to music over the years?

Pradyumna: Since I have been born and brought up in Calcutta, I can say the environment has definitely changed over the years. Earlier, people never encouraged you to be musicians or there was only scope to produce classical and folk music, however now music is developing as a viable career alternative.

Since you Emmanuel have performed in Chandigarh before, what was your experience with the audience?

Emmanuel: Well the audience was extremely brilliant. They were so gracious and had the discipline to listen to us patiently. The vibe was great throughout. I would love to come back here.

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