Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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Posted at: Jan 13, 2019, 7:40 AM; last updated: Jan 13, 2019, 7:40 AM (IST)

Music that unites

Arunangshu Chowdury, Yoshida Daikiti, Takuya Kyuri Iida and Saubhagya Gandarv blend Indian soulfulness with Japanese sensibilities

Gurnaaz Kaur

Sounds of flute, sitar and tabla synchronized to create a symphony—sounds melodious! Add to this, the essence of a different country—Japan precisely—and Saazrang is created. Saazrang literally means different colours of various musical instruments. 

This programme hosted by Pracheen Kala Kendra saw a soulful performance by Indo-Japanese Quartet that includes tabla maestro Arunangshu Chowdury, eminent sitar player Yoshida Daikiti, percussionist Takuya Kyuri Iida and flautist Saubhagya Gandarv. These four musicians say it’s their chemistry that makes Quartet unique. The combination of stroke and wind wave instruments along with two dimensions of percussion (tabla); if Arunangshu brings the traditional Indian flavour, Kyuri blends other countries’ sense of music on table; spreads the many colours of tunes and rhythms for the audience.

Each of these artistes has a riveting story and their coming together is dedicated to the sheer love of Indian classical music. While Arunangshu and Yoshida have an association that goes back to 2005, Saubhagya joined them a year later and Kyuri found his way into the group some years back when he was searching for a teacher to learn tabla.

They have performed at various platforms together and last year saw the birth of Quartet. “Our playing methods are so different, yet in this dissimilarity we found a common line of thought. This unity in diversity is what you may call our USP,” says Arunangshu.

So, are they working towards promoting Indian music and pat comes the reply, “There is no reason to promote Indian classical music. It is very popular across the globe and there is so much love for it that all we want for audience is to enjoy it, cherish it, just like we are doing it.” 

This group says thousands of people who come to attend their shows, be it in any country, and that’s a sign of love for the genre. Another change they have observed is that Indian classical music is pulling more and more youth, “Youngsters love it because it has so much energy therefore the impact is so deep.” 

From Japan, with love

Kyuri started drumming during his teenage years and was into hard rock music. He became a composer and started making electro music. One day, on YouTube he heard tabla and there began his tryst with Indian classical music. “I did learn the basics from an Indian in Japan but my quest wasn’t fulfilled. Then I met Yoshida and finally found Arunangshu,” he smiles.

Having done many shows in Japan and four in India, Kyuri believes, “Indian music is very beautiful and full of emotion- it is deep like nature,” tears of gratitude shine in his eyes.

For Yoshida, the musical journey began at the age of 10 as a guitarist. 10 years later, he was already a professional guitarist and music composer. Life changed in 1996 when he visited India. 

“I was aware about Indian classical music. Plus many genres of music like jazz, pop, rock—they have a lot of influence of Indian classical music—and I was into all these forms of music. I started exploring sitar during that visit in India. Then for the first 10 years I came every year for two months to learn the instrument from a local musician in Varanasi.” For him there is similarity between Indian classical music and Japanese folk music but he likes Indian music more for two reasons. “Indian classical music has a very complicated and sophisticated structure, raag and taal system—it can create so many variations. I can’t express my love for it in words. It is a feeling for me- I’ve been touched by it.”

He is the first in the world to have created an electric sitar. “I created an electric sitar—plug it to amplifier and it makes things easy,” he says proudly.


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