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    Combining Indian, Arabic and Persian influences, this French band finds fusion harmony

    Like most musicians, the three-member French band, Esharêh, believe music is not defined by borders. And their beliefs define their unique soundscape—a blend of Indian, Arabic, Persian and African sounds mixed with traditional Gallo songs of France’s Upper Brittany. Currently on a tour of the country, lead singer Simon Dégremont and percussionists Matthias Labbe and Julien Lahaye talk about what they bring to the table.
    “Matthias has travelled extensively, learning the tabla with Pandit Anindo Chatterjee in Kolkata, the mridangam with Pondicherry’s V Sivakumar, and the Arab drum, darbuka. Julien has trained under the masters of African Mandinka music and plays the Iranian drum tombak,” says Dégremont, adding, “I studied the Gallo song with Charles Quimbert (the director of Dastum, a cultural organisation in Brittany) and was hooked.”
    With multiple collaborations in their repertoire, including French theatre director Daniel Fatous and African percussionist ensemble, Koungbanan Condé, they are now taking their experimentation down new paths, by teaming up with Indian talent.
    “Esharêh (meaning ‘allusion’ in Farsi) is all about bringing together people from different influences. This is our first time in India as a band and we wanted to play with musicians with a Hindustani background. So we have teamed up with Vishal Vardhan, a master with the bansuri (flute), and Sougata Roy Chowdhury, a sarod player,” explains Lahaye.
    Excited about playing in Chennai, they promise a poetic evening with “mixed musical languages”.

    Today, at The Park, from 7 pm. Free passes at Alliance Française. Details: 28279803

    Surya Praphulla Kumar


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