New age, new sounds
When an electric sarod and a hybrid drum kit meet, the result is pure magic, and that's what British sarod player Soumik Datta and Austrian drumming visionary Bernhard Schimpelsberger will prove at their first gig in Mumbai, today
It took sarod player Soumik Datta and drummer Bernhard Schimpelsberger two years to realise that when they play together, the sound produced is mesmeric. But once it was clear, the two were prompt in getting together for all future performances under the name, Circle Of Sound.“Bernhard and I were playing shows in London for about two years, already, when we realised that we had accidentally stumbled upon a great sound which was more than just two parts. It was whole, a sum of both parts. That’s when we started the Circle Of Sound journey,” says Datta.
While Datta plays an electric sarod and has been trained by legendary sarod master Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta and studied western composition at Trinity College of Music, Schimpelsberger studied for many years with tabla master Pandit Suresh Talwalkar and percussion legend Trilok Gurtu, and now plays a customised hybrid drum kit. The two musicians are now set to enthrall music buffs in the city in their maiden performance here.
“India has been a big inspiration in our music making, so we are excited to come here on this tour supported by the British Council. We played a concert in February 2012 for Pandit Ravi Shankarji’s festival in Delhi. But now, we are curious to see how the audiences in other big cities will respond. I hope we can connect with a young audience, and a crowd that understands where we are coming from, balancing several different cultural influences in such an open and connected world,” expresses Schimpelsberger.
Cue from reality
Together, Datta and Schimpelsberger have explored themes of identity and journey and the music they have created is inspired by real-life experiences. Each piece of music is inspired by stories from real people who have been touched or influenced by music. They tell fascinating stories — of a Scottish mountain climber fighting for survival in the middle of a blizzard, who drew inspiration from a song of his childhood stories, and of a young traveller in India, initially overwhelmed by the country’s chaos only to find peace later, on Kerala’s shores, hearing the sounds of its waves. Circle of Sound brings together music, films and voiceovers to tell these stories.
The duo that has collaborated with an impressive line-up, ranging from Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Talvin Singh and Anoushka Shankar to Nitin Sawhney and Akram Khan, released their first album, Circle Of Sound last year and are currently working on their second album, which will feature collaborations with Nitin Sawhney and Bjork’s choir from Iceland. “For the first time, our arrangement will collide with their ethereal Icelandic voices,” he adds. “The new album will take our sonic journey to a new level. In the past year of international touring, we have developed very strong new songs, which lead us into a new direction — more power, more crunch, more electronics and a sense of urban youth,” signs off Schimpelsberger.
On Today, 10 pm
At BlueFrog, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Lower Parel.
Entry Rs 350