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On their first visit to the country, Zarabanda brings you music from the time of Don Quixote

This weekend, take a step back in time—musically speaking, that is. In their maiden trip to India, Zarabanda, a baroque chamber music orchestra from Spain, will be performing at the Amethyst Cafe tomorrow. Organised by the Embassy of Spain, in association with Prakriti Foundation, the concert will feature music from the Renaissance and of classical antiquity. “Baroque chamber music used to be played in palaces and even in the bedrooms of kings—like (French composer) François Couperin’s Concerts Royaux, which was created for Louis XIV when he was ill,” informs Álvaro Marías, an accomplished flautist and the founder of the orchestra, explaining that Zarabanda was born in 1985 with the idea of historical suitability.
True to history
The group, which usually consists of nine musicians, is coming to the city in its smallest form—a trio of flute, viola and guitar. “Alejandro Marías will be on the viola and Ramiro Morales will be playing the guitar. The three of us are very excited to be here,” says Marías, who studied the recorder and modern flute at the Real Conservatorio de Madrid.
Speaking about their performance, he explains they will be playing music created around the time Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote was published—around 400 years ago, in 1615. “We will perform Italian and Spanish mannerist music, a style that is between Renaissance and baroque. It is an innovative style and I think this repertoire will be new for the audience here,” he explains.
Indian influences
Despite this being his first time in the country (they wrapped up a concert in Delhi before heading down), Marías says he’s always wanted to come here. “Especially after my father, Spanish philosopher Julián Marías, came to India in 1959 and wrote a book called Imagen de la India (India’s Image),” he smiles. Admitting that he doesn’t know much about the latest crop of Indian composers (something he plans to remedy), he recalls how he had got a chance to “listen to Ravi Shankar”, an experience that left a great impression on him. “I also follow Zubin Mehta and I’ve been lucky to listen to him in person a few times,” says Marías, signing off with the hope that he’ll be back soon, promising that on his next, he will offer us master-classes on baroque music.

Tomorrow, at The Folly, Amethyst Cafe, from 7 pm. Details: 45991633
—Surya Praphulla Kumar

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