Red song

Published: Jul 07, 2011, 11:20 IST | Sharin Bhatti |

French Jazzman Titi Robin releases collaborative album with Sufi poetry and French word pop, to perform in city tonight

French Jazzman Titi Robin releases collaborative album with Sufi poetry and French word pop, to perform in city tonight

The last time this French-speaking, Eastern folk music lover came down to India, he struggled with English. "The Indian are, how do I put it, very open to having a good time while watching me on stage," Titi Robin said, immediately correcting himself, "Excuse my English. I meant they make for a great audience." Past the linguistic faux pas, Robin is a celebrated French gypsy musician, who has spent 30 years bridging the gap between flamenco, Turkish, Kurdish, African and even sufi poetry. His latest offering is an 11-track album, called Laal Asman (Red Sky), which features 11 Hindustani classical artistes and was recorded at Blue Frog Studios in the city last year.


Titi Robin

"I am very happy with the way the sound has turned out. I spent almost six months mixing the album back home in France," says Robin, who will be performing songs from his new album in concert tonight, co-organised by Alliance Francaise and Blue Frog.

The musicians on the album include Murad Ali on sarangi, Vinay Mishra on harmonium, Vinayak Netke on tabla, Paras Nath on bansuri, Sandip Chaterjee on santoor, Sanjeev and Ashwani Shankar on shehnai and Dino Banjara on percussions. Mahalaxmi Iyer, Aparna Panshikar and Imran Khan have given the vocals on the album. For Robin's ninth studio album, he admits, the lineup couldn't have been better. "I have a deep passion for Indian sufi poetry and Hindustani classical music. I think it is the purest and richest form of music. I have travelled the world over, playing and collaborating with musicians in Iraq, Turkey, Greece and even Argentina. But something would keep drawing me back to India," says Robin.

That something, is flute exponent, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia. On his first visit to India in the late '70s, Robin managed to sit on an intimate concert of the celebrated flautist in Kolkata. "I was doing research and some friends, who were teaching me Hindustani classical, took me to see him. In those 30 minutes, I got hooked and since then have been trying to revisit that mellifluous sound. In Laal Asman, I seem to have come closer," says Robin.

Laal Asman, reeks of love, loss and haunting. In Urdu, Hindi and French, the album could easily be mistaken for world music or Indian fusion. Robin's labour of love has distinct eastern mysticism characters, which range from samples he recorded of tin flutes in Ireland to string notes in Morocco. "Each of these countries is symbolic to me," says Robin, who plays the guitar, oud and bouzouki.

At Blue Frog, Mathuradas Mills Compound, NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel.
Time 10 pm onwards
CALL 40332333

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