India is a confluence of cultures and has always been a nest for relevant exchanges of the arts. Several artists from the world, across genres, covering various art forms have come to the different parts of the country in search of meaningful collaborations. Over the past months, between October and December a few International collaborations happened in West Bengal. Some musical groups from different parts of the world like Switzerland, Italy and Belgium came to have dialogues with local musicians of the region and explore the varied traditional art and craft practices.
Swiss musicians Duo Fatale comprising Jopo and Ingeborg Poffet, recently came to West Bengal to explore the heritage of the region and collaborate. They extensively traveled through the state, absorbing different folk cultures and indigenous art forms of the locals as well as their lifestyles. In the course of their exploration they also collaborated with various groups of local musicians, including Bauls, Fakirs of Bengal and other urban musicians coming from various genres. The collaborations comprised of many instrumental conversations between Eastern and Western cultures of music like a dialogue of Dotara and saxophone, accordion and table. Duo Fatale also visited the village festivals POT Maya in Pingla and Baul Fakir Utsav in Gorbhanga where they played music and built discourses with local artists.
Sicilian trio group Oi Dipnoi traversed across Bengal to explore the cultural nuances and collaborate with the local musicians. They jammed with Dotara, Khamak, Tabla bringing in Western tunes from Diatonic Accordion, Bagpipe and Mouth harp. They travelled to Tepantar village festival and had a great experience amid the greenery of a Theatre and performance village, where they also played music. The highlight of their musical experiments was with Sumanta Das Baul, who according to a member of Oi Dipnoi, was using minor scale with lower second grade in his singing, which was quite interesting and fresh to the Western structure of music. They felt a sense of familiarity with the sounds of some instruments, like the Harmonium, which they related to the Accordion. They also did an improvisation concert with Surma Dohar Trio.
Louvat Bros, a Bluegrass group from Belgium recently came to play experimental music with several musical collectives and solo musicians of Kolkata. With Babu Fakir, they jammed with Fakiri music, contriving new tunes. With classical songs by Argha Kamal, an urban musician, they improvised playing bluegrass music. They also experimented with other genres like Rabindra Sangeet, Shari Songs (songs of high-tides) and composed a collaborative song with influences from Bhatiali (boatswain’s music). A five string experiment was the high point of all their travelling and collaborations, wherein they jammed with five different Western and Eastern string instruments like Mandolin, Banjo, Bass guitar, Guitar and Dotara. They also played the inaugural concert for Black Box Theatre Hall opening at Tepantar Village.
The collaborations open the avenues for variable possibilities of cultural exchange of Eastern and Western indigenous as well as contemporary traditional art forms.
Collaborations with International Musicians hosted by banglanatak dot com
Louvat Bros journey in India
Duo Fatale journey in India
Oi Dipnoi journey in India