Skip to main content

International Musical Collaborations in Bengal

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


Popular posts from this blog

Woodworld Wonders

It was still spring and the lukewarm weather of North Bengal came as a welcome respite for Norwegian Eivind Falk and his two British companions Robin Wood and his daughter Jojo Wood. Walking down a dry mud track of Kushmandi in the district of Dakshin Dinajpur on a March afternoon in 2017, Robin said that the temperature at his home, a few miles from Birmingham, would be around minus four degrees Celsius at that time… “and it’s very, very wet too, with a constant drizzle and wind,” said Jojo. Eivind was smiling… after all he was here before — in 2016 to be precise.

The West Bengal government’s Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises & Textiles (MSME&T) had developed 10 Rural Craft Hubs (RCH) with 3,000 traditional handicraft artists in nine districts of the state between 2013 and 2016. The initiative was undertaken in partnership with UNESCO and the main purpose was to conserve and revive different forms of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of West Bengal. In Februar…

Bengal artists join hands to celebrate shared Cultural Heritage

The Hooghly River or the Bhagirathi-Hooghly  is an essential lifeline for the people of West Bengal. It is through this river that the East India Company sailed in to Bengal and established their trade settlement - Calcutta, which later grew up to be one of the greatest cities of the world and capital of the erstwhile British India. Similarly, London's trade with the continent and the rest of the World steadily increased along the banks of theRiverThames. So, it is quite clear that both therivershave been important trade routes throughout its history.
NOW, after all these years, how would it be if we RE - IMAGINED the tworiversin a different context?
Project'SilkRiver' - Led by visual artist Ali Pretty, founding member and artistic directorof Kinetika, captures the relationship and cultural experiences of the communities along theriverThames and Hooghly.This was launched on 6th October 2016 in the UK, followed by 9th October at the Indian Museum. Working in 20 locations from…

Be Alert Raise Alarm: Awareness Campaign to Prevent Human Trafficking

115 locations, 19 districts, 3 states… and a travelling caravan.
Contact Base in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata and Shakti Vahini, launched the Be Alert Raise Alarm #stophumantrafficking campaign on 17 March, 2017 at Kolkata. The objective was to generate awareness on recent trends and modalities of human trafficking and ways to reduce vulnerability. The campaign covered West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar.

The Campaign partners were: State Child Protection Society, Government of West Bengal, Department of Women Child Development & Social Security, Government of Jharkhand, Directorate of Social Welfare and Department of Labour, Government of Bihar, Police in all three states, more than 70 NGOs across three states and more than 28 schools and colleges.

A vehicle was transformed into a travelling caravan designed in local languages with thematic messages, news clippings on the issue and helpline numbers.

The Caravan carried the team, theatre group, posters, leaflets,…