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The rhythm is going to get you

Updated on: 15 March,2022 08:17 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shunashir Sen |

Attend a gig that features an unusual mix of West African instruments

The rhythm is going to get you

(From left) Tejas Parekh, Prathamesh Kandalkar, Anand Bhagat, Tre Munroe and Neil Gomes of Boombay Djembe Folas

Balafon, dunum, sangbang and kenkeni. If those words sound like Greek to you, it’s because these West African instruments are as rare to find in India as a vada pao would be in Tanzania. But they collectively produce a sound that has long fascinated city-based Anand Bhagat, who travelled to Burkina Faso and Mali for two and a half months in 2013 to study them in detail. And when he returned, it was with the intention of putting together an Indian act that could emulate those folk sounds, which is how Boombay Djembe Folas came to be.

Sangbang and kenkeni fall under the larger dunum family of percussion instruments, he explains, adding that a balafon is a rhythm saxophone. “The folk music from West Africa is really beautiful and rich in rhythm, harmony and vocals. I had already started learning these instruments from people who had travelled to the continent before I’d gone there, having learnt the art from the masters,” he tells us, adding, his own act would only have drums, percussions and vocals in the beginning, before a guitarist was added to the mix six years ago.

That entire set-up will take charge of your evening entertainment at a Bandra hotspot this week, with Boombay Djembe Folas taking the stage there. Bhagat tells us that the set list will consist mainly of traditional West African folk songs, apart from three originals and a new song that will be played live for the first time. “It has some lyrics in Hindi,” he reveals, explaining how folk songs from across the world have a certain point of confluence, which is why he added an Indian flavour to the overall musical recipe. 

On: March 16, 9 pm
At: Bonobo, Kenilworth Mall, Bandra West.
Call: 9619930030

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