Music: ‘I am seduced by India’s rich musical tradition’
If you listen to Western music, then it can’t be possible to not have heard of Andrea Bocelli. The legendary Italian opera tenor and multi-instrumentalist is known for his versatility and also his faith in the healing power of music, which has carried him through after he lost his eyesight at the age of 12.
Assuming you haven’t, in fact, heard of Bocelli, here’s what you need to know. That the aim of his music is simple: To pay homage to the power of love and life through song.
Good will hunting
“I’m inspired by love in all its forms. Love is fire – the engine of the world. Without it, life would not make sense,” says Bocelli. He adds that he dreams of a world that celebrates the gift of music in peace and serenity.
“Despite everything that’s around us at this time, I remain optimistic. The world still has more people of good will. Although good rarely ‘makes news’,” adds the musician.
Bocelli made his debut in India, five years ago with a performance in Mumbai. “I played a concert where I had the honour of being conducted by the largest wand in operation in the world today, my dear friend and supreme Master Zubin Mehta,” he reminisces.
Land of music charmers
Does he listen to Indian music? If so, what does he think of it, we ask.
“I am seduced by India’s rich musical tradition and conquered by the philosophies that have flourished in this land,” says Bocelli. “The sonorities that musical instruments such as the sitar or sarangi release are unmatched, as are the complex and magnetic rhythmic architectures of the tabla.”
The maestro has spent the pandemic working on an album titled Believe, and tried to ease the pain caused by lockdowns around the world via his foundation ABF (Andrea Bocelli Foundation).
“I have lived these complex and unpublished months with great concern and sadness. I was forced to cancel many concerts and greatly missed affection and interaction with public,” he says.
But, he recently performed (for the third time, he adds) at the UNESCO world heritage site, AlUla, in Saudi Arabia.
Children of music
“Saudi Arabia is a land that never fails to amaze me, from the refinement of the food to the depths of its artistic and cultural heritage,” says Bocelli. “On stage, I reflected, moved, on the power of music and art, able to generate common passions and beauty between the East and West.”
What made this performance particularly special was that he was on stage with his children, daughter Virginia and son Matteo, for the first time in his life. “To perform with them is another gift life has given me,” he says gratefully.
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From HT Brunch, May 2, 2021
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