The first pancake always come crumpled,” goes a saying. But in the case of Shoonya, the Bangalore-based world music band, the maiden concert at Alliance Francaise on Friday came out crisp and tasty, if such an expression can be used to describe music.
The seven artistes played instruments such as Djembe, Hawaiian guitar, saxophone, didgeridoo, harp, flute, conga, thumba and flute and the sounds flowed into each other effortlessly.
The concert began with Mahaganapathim in Hamswadwani raga led by Sridhar Sagar, a disciple of Kadri Gopalnath. The other artistes who took part gave unique touches to the raga.
The artistes also improvised on a song in Kirvani raga with Prakash Sontakke playing on the Hawaiian acoustic slide guitar. Mike, an artiste originally from Denmark, a multi-instrumentalist played on the Didgeridoo and with others joining him, the music had a ‘jungle’ effect.
Ashok Kumar played three solo numbers on the African Djembe. One piece, which he said was inspired by rain, made one actually feel the rain and its aftermath. Another percussion piece, Ashok explained, was inspired by the walking of an elephant.
Ashwini, a disciple of Dr N Ramani, on the congas, Sai Babu on drums and Ashwin, with his unusual varieties of percussion instruments played along with others on some well-orchestrated pieces called “Nomads”, “Tribal trance” and “Vega.” Shoonya comprises musicians who play instruments from across the world. Ashok Kumar is not a drummer of the rock band
variety nor is he an African Drummer in the strict sense either, but plays on an African percussion instrument with elan. Ashok has been invited regularly to various countries to conduct workshops on movement, theatre and music.
He also plays the tabla. Prakash Sontakke’s creative experiments in Jazz and fusion are deeply underlined by his classical training. For an instrumentalist to attempt to recreate the emotion of the human voice is extremely difficult.
Though very difficult, Prakash prefers to play the gayaki ang (vocal style) on the slide guitar. Sridhar Sagar, the saxophonist has clarity in articulation of the text, and a fine sense of laya works positively. Mike, is a multi-instrumentalist specialising in veena and the electric guitar. At the concert, he played the didgeridoo and harp.
Ashwini has been playing the flute for the past 12 years. She has won the scholarship for music from the Union Ministry of Culture, New Delhi. Sai Babu, a multi Percussionist who plays the congas, drums and other percussions.
There was a repeat performance of the concert on Saturday (March 4).