Finger-picking good

Updated: 23 November, 2018 09:18 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

A guitarist will create an intimate musical setting with his finger-style technique

British band The Who were about to perform their generation-defining rock opera, Tommy, at a concert being televised live. It was sometime in the late '80s and two young parents in Toronto decided to watch it on TV late at night as an ideal way to spend some alone time.

But they had an unexpected interruption. Their baby boy plonked himself on the sofa between them and, from the moment the first bars were played, he stayed glued to the screen till the very end. He was grasping the magical attraction of music for possibly the very first time.

Then, when he was 12, Bhrigu Sahni - the kid - heard another musician who created a lasting impression. Michael Hedges is a legendary American finger-style guitarist who blew Sahni's mind. But this was before he had started learning the instrument sincerely himself. So when Sahni did pick up the guitar when he was roughly 15, he was automatically enamoured with the finger-style technique, wherein a musician makes extensive use of his hands to imitate even a drum beat on the guitar's body. And that was to remain the fulcrum of his musical pursuits from then on.

These pursuits took Sahni to music school in the US when just out of his teens, and he stayed back there for five years playing at iconic venues like New York's Carnegie Hall. Then, around eight months ago, he came back to India to set up a second musical base here with the intention of playing gigs in the country, returning from a tour of the Northeast just days ago. Now, he will play a show in the city tonight.

In it, what sort of soundscape will he build for the audience? "We are trying to create an immersive experience for the listener, right from when they enter the venue. We'll keep it light and make it more of an interactive experience, with the music enveloping you at the same time," Sahni tells us, his speech interrupted with an infectious laugh that he lets out at his own jokes.

He's dead serious about his music, though, and after releasing his debut album, What is Now, two years ago, he's busy taking the songs in it to as many people as he can. Sahni says, "I'm just going on tours and meeting people to see what their lives are like. The intention is to really interact with people at a very humane level, you know, because that's what we really need. And in a way, that's kind of how I have felt ever since I was a child."

ON: Tonight, 9 pm
AT: Levi's Lounge, Lower Parel.

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First Published: 23 November, 2018 08:23 IST

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