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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Indian Electronics on the European continent… (part 1)

Indian Electronics on the European continent… (part 1)

Delivered... IE-mAdmin | IEm News | Wed 7 Apr 2010 9:50 am

Author: ElJay Arem


ElJay Arem during the show on 6th April 2010

(IE-m/HH -04072010) – Recently in Central European the clocks have been changed to summer time … and we have straight Easter behind us, also in Hamburg impressing Easter fire along the Elbe river had not been inconvenient in view of the cool holidays. I would like to take this “heathenish rite” which was included from the Catholic church into the Easter liturgy to the cause that we look about musical activities in the European community which we can assign to the genre of Indian electronic music.

At present the European community consists of 27 countries with approx. 500 million humans and three further countries, who already applied for a full membership: Croatia, Turkey and Macedonia as former Yugoslavian republic.

Our own language region (Switzerland – Austria – Germany) we will consider in an extra IE-m show, particularly under the aspects of the historical background of electronic music considerably was affected world-wide out of Germany. Here shortly to memory the names like Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze alias Richard Wahnfried or Oskar Sala, Harald Genzmer and Karlheinz Stockhausen who departed in December 2007.

We begin our journey in our closest Western neighbourhood, in the Netherlands.

Our direct neighbour…

In the past shows since our premiere in January this year we already became acquainted with the sound acoustic linkage between Indian classical music and Indian electronic music a little.
The Rotterdam Conservatory, today it is called CODARTS (Rotterdam World Music Academy) is one of the prominent training facilities outside of India for Indian Classics under the controllership of the legendary flutist Hariprasad Chourasia, a representative of North Indian Classics, the Hindustani music.

At Codarts three musicians became acquainted with each other, who published as trio Aesh their debut album of the same name in the year 2007. Aesh, that are Celine Wadier, trained in the oldest Indian vocal form, the Dhrupad, the Tabla player Heiko Dijker resident in Amsterdam we can found as programmer on the laptop and keyboards and Martijn Baaijens, likewise keyboard and on the Sarode, which belongs to the instrumental family of Indian lutes (e.g. Sitar, Veenas).
Celine, Heiko and Martijn are trained all in the Indian-classical music by prominent Indian Maestros… like Ustad Zia Fariddudin Dagar in Drupad, Buddhadev DasGupta on the Sarode and Ustad Faiyaz Khan on the Tabla.

Aesh had presented for the first times at Indian Electronica Festival in London in the year 2006 to a broader public and gained a larger recognition. With the CD Ash the trio understood to link Indian chansons with French ragas and funky world music as expressed on their MySpace site.

City of Love… Ile-de-France…

We leave now the country of the tulips and shift further southward to another abutter. Digital Bled is residing in Ile-de-France, as the Paris metropolis is called officially since 1976. Its the 26th district with estimated 12 million inhabitants (11,7 million). If Digitally Bled would get the possibility for creating a new slogan for Paris perhaps the city of love on the Seine would be decorated with “peace, unit and a lot of fun”. Digitally Bled designates its music likewise. In the translation with reference to Africa the name means “digital back-country” or “digital nest“.

The label Digital Bled represents the Portuguese Joao Pedro Veloso or just simply known as DJ Pedro. Pedro established himself in the suburbs of Paris in the 70’s. Already at the age of 11 years Pedro sucked the music of one of his neighbours, who was a trumpet player. One day he brought home a bandoneon to Pedro. With 18 he played the drums, the bass and guitar.

The musical result of Digital Bled is a mixture from Orient and Occident, Africa and Europe. On the CD “Caravane” (2000) DJ Pedro mixes street sounds with Southern music.

The influences of modern North America are not missed out briefly with heavy bass beats, Rap elements, psychedelic Funk and Hip Hop passages. Not atypically for music from France against the background of its colonial history African elements are dominating.

The co-operation of Pedro Veloso with Dany’O, a West Indian bassists or the Indian singer Najma reflect the musical self understanding of Pedro. In his sound mixtures Pedro concerns around the excavation of sounds and avoids a cultural raid.

South of France…

After DJ Pedro’s world of sounds which he creates in Paris under the synonym “Digitally Bled” we remain still in France for a while. In the South West on the banks of the Garonne is situated Toulouse, exactly between Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. The region with 1.1 million inhabitants is the sixth-largest in France (after Paris, Lyons, Marseille, Lille and Nice).

Toulouse made itself an international name with the head office of the European space industry an international name. Here we find also a music Combo, which calls  its style “Fusion-Rock-Reggae”.

From an eleven (11) head formation under the promiseful name BlackBombayBrain this formation exists today simply as Black Bombay, with nine (9) musicians. The front man and lead singer is Shadu, at his side a rhythm section with bass, percussion and drums; the melodic part take over (background) vocals, trumpet, piano and guitar.

To assign the music of Black Bombay to the genre of Indian electronic music one may regard as marginal, admittedly. The constant Tabla beats we can find in the tunes “Karnatak Journey” and the Indian  vocals or Sitar in “Night at the Temple” make the sound nevertheless very, very Indian. Both recordings are on the CD Black Bombay which was published in 2002.

So beautifully its only at the waterfront…

With Black Bombay and Digital Bled, after stations in Toulouse and Paris yet it’s not enough of the French flair in the matter of Indian Electronic music.

The triplet is completed by Nataraj XT from the Southern French port Marseille. The musicians Richard Bernet and Pierre Moitram met the Tabla player Kapi (DJ K314&Philipp De Mont Redon) in the 90’s. Thus in July 1999 the group Nataraj XT was founded.

Nataraj is derived from the Indian word Nataraja: The king of the dance, a representation of the Hindu god Shiva, as the cosmic dancer, who fights with his divine dance the lack of vigilance of the universe to make way for the goddess Brahma and to initiate the process of the act of creation.

As the generation of the baby boomers in the 60’s after they had discovered the Indian classical music in the 60’s. This style Bernet studied for more than 20 years on the Sarode and Esraj under the tutelage of the Sarode legend Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009) at the Ali Akbar College in California while Moitram learnt in Paris from Professor Pramod Kumar, himself a pupil of the Sitar legend Ravi Shankar, who celebrated his 90th birthsday these days (born 7th April 1920).

Grown up with Rock’n roll and Techno and computer generated samples the modern sound of Nataraj XT is to be particularly owed to the Tabla and piano player Kapi. He also plays guitar, bass, drums and percussion. Tandava was the first album of Nataraj XT, distributed already in the year 1999 over the Internet to the world-wide fan club before the booming of eMusic began and music downloads became the  horror ghost of the music industry.

If one makes oneself conscious the fact that North Indian Ragas are to 90% improvisation music hence, it is not surprising that two improvisation artists such as Bernet and Moitram work for Nataraj XT with modal structures enriched with electronic sounds as we know it from Jazz. In their art of improvisation Nataraj XT incorporates also style elements from Eastern music as we find it on the CDs Ocean Birds (2003) and Opposition (2005).

Portugal – Brazil (Sao Paulo)

With Nataraj XT from Marseille we leave France now. Gladly we would continue the journey through European landscape, but amazingly: far and broad nothing to hear of Indian electronic music. Excluded like at the beginning announced that Indian E-music will pay extra attention to the German language countries (Austria – Switzerland – Germany) with another show. So don’t abandon hope completely…

The protagonists from the Netherlands and France as introduced (Ash (Trio), Digital Bled (DJ Pedro), Black Bombay, Nataraj XT) may surprise us certainly in the closer future with outstanding compositions and arrangements. Music is as well known transfrontier and as an universal language.
However I would like to present a language relative of the Portuguese Pedro Veloso (Digital Bled) from Paris. Under the label Atman an artist from Brazil could establish himself in the scene of the Indian electronic music. Atman is resident in Sao Paulo.

Atman, literally the meaning of breath is defined in Indian philosophy, the Vedanta as the soul, which is connected universally and equally exists as individual soul, the truely self.

Atman showed first interest in Indian classical music in the year 1996. Yoga  exercises and the study of philosophy explain his concerns. Already in 1997 his CD Eternal Dance was published by the label MCD World Music. The CD Eternal Dance II from following year (1998) is a tonal document as well about the beginnings of the so called Asian Underground, which was set up Indian Electronic music in 1997 with the CD release of Talvin Singh “Anokha – Soundz of the Asian Underground“.


Take notice: The next broadcasting of Indian E-music is set for 1st Tuesday, 4th May at 09:00 pm on Tide 96.0 FM and via Internet stream.

Are you interested in Indian classical music ? – IMC – India meets Classic is scheduled every 3rd Tuesday in the month, same time. Next show: 20th April 201009:00 pm (via Internet stream).

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