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

Entrepreneurship as a Social Movement: Real Life Success Stories

In January 2018, we launched a long-term initiative to give a concerted push to entrepreneurship, including innovative ones, by sharing our knowledge and experience acquired over 17 years as a social enterprise. To begin with, we invited eminent thought leaders and industry experts who shared their experiences with our home-grown young, aspiring entrepreneurs. This ‘International Seminar on Entrepreneurship as a Social Movement: Creating Cultural, Social and Economic Value’ was organized on 5 and 6 January in Kolkata, in partnership with the British Council and the Essex Business School, University of Essex, U.K.The narratives at the conclave veered from personal journeys of Indian entrepreneurs to stories from countries as far as Argentina. The deliberations focused on how skills and innovation, supported by a pragmatic and sensitive socio-economic eco-system, can usher in holistic changes in the development paradigm.At the seminar, we also showcased real life success stories of creat…

Swayangsiddha: Rallying youths to stop human trafficking & child marriage

In an era of fast forgotten news, the headline flew past in a flicker indeed, but it did leave behind a rare trail of courage and inspiration for thousands of girls, if not more, in West Bengal! Meena, a teenager from a non-descript village in the district of South 24 Parganas, was tricked and abducted by a woman she knew through one of her classmates and neighbour. Only days before, Meena, a Class 10 student, was lucky to have attended a session of Swayangsiddha – the awareness drive underway against human trafficking organized by the district police chief at her school. Memories came rushing back and she understood that she would be sold to ‘customers’ waiting in cities like New Delhi or Mumbai, if not any other faraway land. But Meena decided not to give in and realized that keeping her cool was the topmost priority at the moment. As her abductor and her associates tried to figure out her reaction and response at the shelter where she was kept at in Baruipur, a bustling town in he…

West Bengal to Washington: Connecting Young Hearts & Minds

Understanding and sharing are the fundamentals for any stable, caring relationship. It holds true even for communities having different mindsets, cultural moorings and socio-economic profiles. An interesting experiment in this context came to an end recently. It involved youths from the United States and the state of West Bengal in India. The participants had diverse backgrounds, varied interests and different aspirations. While some came from marginalized rural families, some had modest to well-to-do backgrounds, often with an upbringing in urban milieus. But, in spite of all their differences, they came together to share stories about their likes, dislikes, passion, profession, roots, aspirations and perceptions, and ended up as more humane and sensitive souls, if not friends!
The aim of the Communities Connecting Heritage (CCH) program was to promote cultural diversity and boost cultural sustainability through cultural exchange. It was supported by the U.S. Department of State and a…