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    A band from Bengal begins their country-wide tour at Fete De La Musique​

    OF the 15 bands performing at the sixth edition of Fete ​D​e ​L​a ​M​usiqe​ next week,​ a four-piece group blending Hindustani classical ​music ​with jazz​ has our attention​.​ Neel Sarkar Project is a multi-cultural instrumental band from Kolkata, and for lead guitarist ​Neel Sarkar, the festival marks the start of ​their debut country tour—which ends​ next month in his hometown, Kolkata, after covering places like Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh. “The tour is a promotional one for our album, Zikr, which was released last year. I want to take my music to the masses,” says the 36​-​year​-​old who hails from Barrackpore and currently stays in Garia.​ His band comprises three Bengalis and a Frenchman​ — ​Pierre Antoine Lasnier is their bass guitarist, while ​Pritam Sengupta ​plays the percussion ​and Sushruta Goswami the​ ​flute.
    Sarkar is eagerly awaiting to see how the audience in the South responds to their music. “From what I know​,​ people in Chennai are very receptive to alternative sounds and experimental music,” he says, adding that they will also be debuting a couple of new songs next week, like Ode To Spring and Fossil Fuel. “The music we play is aimed at the younger generation who is not acquainted with Hindustani classical music, which is the genre that captures the real essence of the country’s culture​. So we fuse it with genres that they are more familiar with, like Western.” He also combines flamenco rhythms with classical, an experiment​, he says, that is inspired by legends like Al Di Meola, the American jazz fusionist. ​Coming up after the tour are plans for a new album, he signs off discreetly.
    June 21, at Edouard Michelin Auditorium. 7 pm onwards. ​
    Details: 28279803

    —Karan Pillai

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