February 2010

Jazzing it up!
Neha Walia

They have more than just music binding them. Both started young, both share a romance with music and grew up learning its language - one with jazz and the other classical.

If one got insipred to come to India after watching Pandit Ravi Shankar play in Copenhagen, the other has played along with John McLaughlin, also known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, the best guitar player in the world. If one is known as the best bamboo flute player in the Indian and international music world, the other has the credit of forming a band that was entitled the Danish State Ensemble by the royal family of Denmark.

Pierre Dorge and Shashank Subramanyam, now a part of Peirre's band New Jungle Orchestra, performed together at the Tagore theatre on Wednesday evening. The show was held in collaboration with the department of Information, Public Relations and Cultural affairs, Haryana.

And both have their own reasons to feel excited. "Its Pierre's first visit and perfomance in India and I am glad that I am in the city after 20 years or so. Bringing an unusual fusion of Western classical and Indian classical music, the band used the clarinet, trumpet, trombone, Sax, bass cello, the mridangam and flute to weave magic.

"There were lots of jungle and tribal sounds, a Danish summer folk song and a composition called Whispering Elephants, which is based on Pierre's imagination on how elephants communicate," says Shashank Subramanyam.

Their music, even in combination, reveals individual influences. Pierre, with his elements from Europe, Asia, African, Arabian, Belanese and American jazz, is extrovert and global, while Shashank adds his traditional Indian sounds with equal precision.

"Traditional music is like an everyday diet while fusion is presenting a different menu each day. Our aim is to mix inspirations from evrywhere, pick up new compositions and develop something that is different from each of our earlier compositions," adds Shashank.

Although Pierre is double the age of Shashank, both musicians have proved their metal when it comes to their sounds and melodies. Pierre with his brand of growling, jungle-inspired Jazz and Shashank with his Grammy-nominated performances with artistes like Zakir Hussain.