Music: Zamee to make its Mumbai debut next week in Bandra

Updated: 03 January, 2017 10:30 IST | Anju Maskeri |

Zamee, a band that fuses Indian classical music with Balkan elements, is set to make its debut in India 

It was five years ago that Mumbai-based singer, Sabiha Khan met accordion player Matija Solce and his sister, Nika, a composer and puppeteer from Slovenia in Australia. The trio was present for the Ethno music festival that provides international exchange opportunities for artistes. “Since India is known for its Bollywood music, they wanted to learn a filmy number. I taught them RD Burman’s famous Jaane Jaan sung by Asha Bhosle which they fused with a Macedonian number called Merak, which means passion,” she says. The song became so popular that Khan and her musician friends presented the track at the Woodford Folk Festival, one of the biggest annual cultural events held near the town of Woodford, Queensland. “We became great friends, and during one of our conversations, Nika floated the idea of performing together. I took it so seriously, that my husband, Vinayak Netke, a tabla player-cum-composer, and I were in Slovenia a couple of months later,” she laughs.

Khan soon found herself teaching music to 250 Slovenian musicians in the summer of 2012 at the Etno Histeria Music Festival organised by Solce. And, through this collaboration, was born the idea of Zamee, an Indo-Balkan fusion band.

The music group taps into the similarities between Balkan and Indian music, combining Sufi poetry, rustic folk songs and sacred Indian invocations with Gypsy tunes and soulful Macedonian melodies. After performing in Slovenia and Austria for the last four years, Zamee will finally be making its Mumbai debut next week. “Balkan music is still a relatively unexposed genre in India, but the joy and melancholy in their tunes marry beautifully with Sufism and Indian folk,” says Khan.

Apart from Khan, Netke and the Solce siblings, the seven-member band also includes guitarist and teacher Tilen Stepišnik, Toby Kuhn a Ljubjlana-based French cellist and Ziga Sercer, a percussionist. “Music from the Balkans combines brawling energy with unfathomable emotion. But, the basic foundation of rhythm, enjoyment, infusion and improvisation. So Vinayak and I took our Indian heritage to them,” she says. While the lyrics have been penned by Netke, Khan ha drawn from her own religious influences to include Sufi elements.

Interestingly, the performance won’t be a ticketed event. “We essentially just want to showcase our music to as many people as we can, to get constructive feedback from them and to see if they connect to our songs,” she says.

Where: Balgandharva Rangmandir, opposite National College, Bandra (West)
When: Dec 27, 7.30 pm

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First Published: 25 December, 2016 11:20 IST

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