London Jazz Festival Previews (8) Amit Chaudhuri

I’ve been picking up quite a buzz about Amit Chaudhuri (above), whose London Jazz Festival gig is on Saturday November 14th at the ArtsDepot in Finchley. I’ve been talking to people urging me to get along and hear him. And I’ve been enjoying the album This is Not Fusion ( Babel)-Sound clips HERE

Chaudhuri is a highly respected novelist and thoughtful writer. Who also happens to be trained in the North Indian classical singing tradition – a fine musician.

A man with a family in Calcutta. And a teaching post in creative writing in Norwich. And novels in a bookstore near you. A man who has also grown up with Western rock music. Does he sees Britain through Indian eyes? Or vice versa? The answer has to be: all of the above, and then some: the interweaving of these two cultures is deep, inextricable.

Chaudhuri has written about what he and the band do. It’s about developing:

The structural similarities between ragas and rock melodies, for instance, or between Western folk melodies and Indian ones, mainly in the form of the pentatonic scale found in the blues and also in Indian music in ragas […]; the aim is not only to take advantage of these musical intersections between the two traditions, but to attempt to create a language of music and performance out of them.

The starting point for this was The Layla Riff to Todi. Chaudhuri’s ears picked up the similarity between Clapton’s well-known riff and a specific indian rag. And he’s run with it.

I read the following in a recent interview. I really go for this sense that performing music is about creating excitement in the present, but also, simulataneously, digging deep into a collective memory:

The everyday interests me as an intensely vivid, energetic, vibrant entity against the abstract and the epic. It’s always implicitly against something, and that’s why it possesses for me such energy and possibility.

One for the recommended list

Categories: miscellaneous

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