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Striking similarities in Indian, Japanese music, says expert

punjab Updated: Aug 20, 2015 14:14 IST
Vishal Joshi
Timothi Michael Hoffman

Tim Hoffman playing Japanese wind instrument Shakuhachi in Karnal. (CL Kashyap/HT)

Timothi Michael Hoffman, a US-born expert on Asian music, on Wednesday started his Haryana tour, aimed at spreading a message of peace through classical music.

The ethnomusicologist, who has made Japan his home for the past 29 years, told Hindustan Times that he prefers to call himself an activist involved in research and development (R&D) in intra-Asian music.

Hoffman said that he experiments with music of various countries, which is based on melody. “For me Indo-western fusion is more of khhichri that is re-cooked without any freshness in it. I am trying to encourage musicians to explore new dimensions from the rich traditions of India, Japan, and Sinhalese music,” said Hoffman who is working on music of various Asian countries. “Western music is abrupt whereas the Indian and Japanese music is based on melody and gradually moves one into ecstasy. Traditional Indo-Japanese music is an amalgamation of lai, sur and taal,” said Hoffman who is trained in Hindustani music by Pandit Ganesh Prasad Mishra of Benaras gharana. Hoffman, who has mastered ‘Shakuhachi’, the five-holed bamboo flute, and the koto, the zitherlike 13-stringed traditional Japanese instrument and tabla, said that he tries to blend the classical music of the two nations. “Build around harmony, the music traditions and instruments of these nations focussed attention to melody and rhythm,” he said. “There are immense similarities in Indian and Japanese classic music and languages and I am trying to explore its depths. I am trying to use the platform of Indo-Japanese Musical Exchange Association to connect the sound of music and language as my bit for message of peace,” said Hoffman, founder-director of the association floated in 1989.

Hoffman started his cultural tour from a private school in Kurukshetra from Wednesday. The Kurukshetra University and the Karnal-based National Integrated Forum of Artistes and Activists (NIFA) have planned his cultural evenings later this week.