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RASALÎLA - The Play of Emotions
Indian virtuosos meet the Ensemble Modern
Dhruba Ghosh - Outstanding performer on the sarangi
communication, globalisation, modernity, tradition
"The Future of Music is Global"
The Ensemble Modern - Portrait
Six Questions to Ashok Ranade

Indian Travel Sketches by Wolfgang Stryi
Shubha Mudgal - Classical khyal singer and popstar
Aneesh Pradhan - one of Indias most outstanding tabla players
"Diaspora-Componists" - Clarence Barlow, Param Vir, Naresh Sohal and Shirish Korde
Further musicians and composers - Aneesh Pradhan and Uday Bhawalkar
Zum Live-Hörspiel von Kiran Nagarkar, Shubha Mudgal und Aneesh Pradhan

Dhruba Gosh Barbara Fahle
Dhruba Gosh, son of the tabla-master and -teacher Pandit Nikhil Ghosh, counts as being an outstanding performer on the sarangi. He has a brilliant but sensitive technique and a flawless mastery over the traditional Bundu-Khan style, which he learnt over many years under Ustad Sagiruddin Khan, and has also developed new techniques to extend the sarangi's range of sounds. He has also made a name for himself as a composer. If there is now said to be a renaissance of the sarangi in India, the credit is due to him.

For centuries the sarangi was a popular string instrument in the north of India but it found its way as an accompanying instrument into Indian courtly and art music only about a century ago. It is played upright in the lap and has 3 gut strings to which 35 metal ones resonate. Its sound is rich in overtones, sharply accentuated but also mellifluous, owing to slides between notes, so it is said to be the instrument of a hundred colours. Demanding a high level of skill, it has mostly been replaced as an accompanying instrument in popular ensembles by the harmonium.

Dhruba Gosh performs regularly in the music centres of his homeland, India, be it in Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbal, Puna or Bangalore. He is also a frequent guest in Europe, like at the Helsinki International Music Festival, the Baroque Music Festival in Brussels and the Silk Route Festival in Athens. Concert tours often take him to Europe, the USA and Japan. He works together with classical western musicians like Phillipe Pierlot (viola da gamba), Jean Paul Dessy (cello) and François Deppe (cello), with jazz musicians like Veronique Bizet (piano) and Yamashita (piano), and with crossover musicians like Trilok Gurtu (tabla) or with musicians who mostly play traditional music on string instruments.

Dhruba Gosh lives and works as a musician and teacher in Mumbai and Brussels. He teaches at the Sangit Academy in Brussels and at the Royal Music Conservatory in Liège.

Dhruba Gosh about the cooperation with the Ensemble Modern:

The Ensemble Modern is an exquisite coming together of brilliant musicians and working with them on the Indian essences holds very great promise.
So far as my contribution is concerned, I have been much impressed with the qualities and earnestness of the segment from the Ensemble, which was extended to me as per my request. The aim of my work with them has been in three phases:

A. Primarily to explore the realm of a very personal state of consciousness beginning at essentially the first tremors of contacting one's most inner self and then the urge to act firstly as a mirror to oneself, then emotionally and then intellectually moving into the realm of thoughts which emerge from that primary contact with one's innermost self. We used the medium of the tonic, in this case D, beginning with the lowest possible volume of sound from each instrument, almost on the threshold of silence and sound itself...then moving with slight rises and falls in volumes to reflect the development of contacting Life within and then manifesting all this into clear sound.

B Subsequently we used a three note cluster just adjacent to the tonic to indicate the idea of three-dimensional perception using the techniques of ornamentation and formative improvisation.

C. The next phase shifts into external action using a composition of mine set to Raga Bhairavi. This phase clearly asks for demonstrative expression of rhythmic and melodic improvisation within the Raga Bhairavi, of course with broad outlines suggested for ways to improvise.

Essentially I had broadly aimed at a composition whose first part (Phase - A) would change each time it was played, since it would be a direct reflection of each artiste's actual state of contact with himself. The Second part (Phase - B) would be a joining area to merge into the third part (Phase - C ). Phase - C would be relatively a more predictable structure with only the improvisations being variable.

The participating musicians have been very articulate in grasping the thrust of the philosophy.

Understandably one could see the constraint of time available to define the basic concept of this work, the time for the Ensemble to get down to actually using their medium (instrument) to contact themselves and see for themselves their own reactions to the concept from me, and finally for them to be able to achieve their satisfaction. However, the limitation of time is a very much understandable factor. I felt that given a little more time and optimum planning on utilising the PEAK ARTISTIC ENERGIES of the members of the Ensemble is very essential in getting a closer feel of the success of the project itself. Making this possible will greatly satisfy the resources being put in by the House of World Culture.

I look at the Ensemble Modern as an excellent ground for a deep and meaningful interaction between Indian classical music and its guiding principles and European musicians. Perhaps this is the first of a working relationship event in the half -century of familiarisation with Indian music. Such a live-wire situation has never happened before where, for once Indian musicians are not teaching their concepts to the West but actually living it side by side with them. Obviously, myself as a performing Indian musician and as a composer found an enormously prolific environment which is a fully functioning two-way traffic. There have been lots of instances of coming together of these two essentially classical cultures under the name of Fusion music, Extra-European Music, World Music and what-not, while the fact remains that little or nothing has seriously happened that has been growth-oriented. I feel that here is a music laboratory where we can actually work with the tools without having the shortsighted objective to somehow join matching or non-matching fabrics to perform a hastily assembled concert.

Contact: Gabriele Stiller-Kern