Fus­ing the greats for the sake of world mu­sic

The Asian Age - - Culture+ - Pramita Bose

When east meets west, per­haps the best fu­sion hap­pens. One never knows when the great­est cre­ation comes out of the finest blend. Prob­a­bly pur­su­ing up this chain of thought, the Bri­tish Coun­cil ( BCL) pre­sented Folk Na­tions Con­certs, a plat­form bring­ing to­gether folk mu­si­cians from United King­dom ( UK) and In­dia.

The UK’s in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion for cul­tural re­la­tions and ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties, BCL has of late brought to In­dia a se­ries of uniquely wo­ven con­certs. The pro­gramme high­lighted folk cul­ture across the UK and In­dia through mu­si­cal notes. The three- city In­dia tour wit­nessed a string of per­for­mances by di­verse el­e­ments. Com­pris­ing renowned mu­si­cians Patsy Reid ( Scot­land), Han­nah James ( Eng­land), Ge­or­gia Ruth ( Wales), Sau­rav Moni ( In­dia), Suhail Yusuf Khan ( In­dia) and James Mack­in­tosh ( Scot­land), this off­shoot of Folk Na­tions is some­thing to watch out for on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

As a project, Folk Na­tions was ide­ally de­vised to foster cre­ative ex­changes and col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween tra­di­tional artistes from the UK and the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent. As a re­sult, a week­long res­i­dency fol­lowed in Fe­bru­ary 2013, steered by the Bri­tish Coun­cil and the English Folk Dance and Song So­ci­ety (EFDSS), wherein a group of UK and In­dian folk mu­si­cians was in­vited to share their folk mu­sic tra­di­tions and her­itage, apart from co­or­di­nat­ing and im­mers­ing them­selves into an ex­er­cise of in­tense mu­sic mak­ing.

The six- mem­ber en­sem­ble first trav­elled to per­form at Celtic Con­nec­tions and London’s Alchemy Fes­ti­val at the South­bank Cen­tre. The band rep­re­sents a ta­pes­try of both UK and In­dian folk flavours that speak of the rich cul­tural her­itage of th­ese re­gions as well as their place in the con­tem­po­rary mu­sic in­dus­try.

Re­cently au­di­ences in Delhi, Kolkata and Shil­long got to wit­ness the re­sult of th­ese col­lab­o­ra­tions among mu­si­cians from Scot­land, Eng­land, Wales and In­dia. To con­duct th­ese con­certs, the Bri­tish Coun­cil had part­nered with the In­dian Coun­cil for Cul­tural Re­la­tions ( ICCR) and the Gov­ern­ment of Megha­laya, Depart­ment of Arts and Cul­ture.

Shed­ding light on the ben­e­fits that In­dian artistes may gain out of this ef­fort, Vivek Mansukhani, Di­rec­tor, Arts In­dia at the Bri­tish Coun­cil, says, “Artistes from both the na­tions are profit­ing from this col­lab­o­ra­tion. The Folk Na­tions project, which be­gan two years ago in 2012, has been pro­vid­ing a space for mu­si­cians to de­velop a di­a­logue and learn from each other’s cul­ture and mu­si­cal tra­di­tions. This in turn also nur­tures col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts and hope­fully in­spires new en­deav­ours in their fu­ture.”

Here’s wish­ing the troupe paves the path to suc­cess in the times to come.

Folk mu­si­cians from the United King­dom and In­dia at the Folk Na­tions Con­cert.

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