On the surface – despite their common African-American roots – the jazz and hip-hop styles of music sound nothing alike. However, British musician Soweto Kinch disagrees. “Work towards making the music sound good… nothing else will matter,” he says.
During the past decade, Kinch, a jazz saxophonist and hip-hop artiste, has released three albums, been nominated for the Mercury award, won the BBC Radio award twice and earned a reputation as a ‘jazz innovator’. His aim, he says, is to defuse genres and experiment with music. And that’s exactly what he’s doing in India on a month-long tour.
Kinch has collaborated with a group of Indian musicians and theatre actors, and is putting together two separate acts. One is a live performance with percussionists Ratul Shankar Ghosh and Dibyendu Mukerji, and sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan, and the other is a drama project called In The Further Soil, which brings together music, sound and the spoken word to tell stories of love and separation.
“It’s a one-hour long play with an unconventional, non-linear narrative whose text has been inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry,” he says.
Kinch met the musicians and actors at the Jaipur Literary festival in January. “We decided to perform together because we realised that we had common threads of music. And I’d definitely like to learn more about Indian music,” Kinch says.
The performance revolves around how culture trends migrate and it influences our environment. “Our culture is always evolving and at the same time also says a lot about where it originated from. This is what our performance is based on,” he says.