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'Enslaved' by Ravi Shankar's music!

The Norwegian metal band says that the maestro's sitar has influenced their music to a great extent.

art and culture Updated: Feb 26, 2007 20:25 IST

The influence of Indian music in Norway is not very difficult to guess. Hindi film music is gaining popularity with the Norwegian youth; even Bollywood movies with Nordic subtitles are drawing mainstream Norwegian crowd to the theatres.

The success of Norwegian born Negar Khan in Bollywood is always making headlines back in Oslo. But, that is not just the only influence Indian music wields in Scandinavia.

As Ivar Bjoersen, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist of Norwegian metal band, Enslaved who have come here to perform at the 11th Great Indian Rock (GIR) show said: “Ravi Shankar’s Sitar has influenced our music to a certain extent.”

“Though it wouldn’t be right to say that has had a direct influence on our music, but yes. He influenced Jimmy Page and several others, and Jimmy Page influenced me, so in a way yes, Shankar influenced our music,” said Ivar.

He admits to having never met Ravi Shankar, but feels it would be a great opportunity if he could take time out of his busy schedule to pay him a visit.

Enslaved is on its first visit to Asia, and bassist and lead vocalist Grutle Kjellson admits to not having any idea about the rock or metal scene in India, but feels excited about performing at the GIR.

The feedback they received from two Norwegian bands We and Elcaco, he says, made them eager to perform in India.

So what about cutting an album here or collaborating with Indian musicians? Certainly in the pipelines, after all music is all about cutting boundaries.

As Ivar says: “Norway is a very small country with a limited cultural heritage, and we have not made an impact on the global or the cultural scene as India. But, we are learning about Indian music. Awareness about Indian music, classical, Bollywood and rock, is increasing in Norway.”

“Obviously we would also like to cut an album here. Our company is holding talks with a label here and hopefully it will materialise. Initially we will launch two of our latest albums, and then depending on that, our previous albums,” he said.

So far Enslaved have launched 10 albums, six in Norwegian and four in English, and plan to test the waters here with their two latest English albums Isa and Runn.

Since its start in 1991, Enslaved has seen many shuffles and only three of the original band members exist, including Ivar and Grutle.

But, as they say, they themselves have evolved since their first album Hordanes Land in 1993.

Winner of two Norwegian Grammy awards, the band received rave reviews during their European tour in February and March 2005. It was at this time, in absentia, when they were awarded both the Norwegian Grammy and the independent Alarm Price for their second last album ISA.

Their music is dark, with a refined mix of psychedelic doom and raw energy that makes them one of the best metal bands in the world, and they are here to rock Delhi on Sunday, February 25 at the GIR.

But, as Grutle says, they would love to come back to India again. But, till then, Delhiites will have to sway and head-bang to their beats at the GIR.

First Published: Feb 26, 2007 19:56 IST