Indian audience is rich in tradition and culture

Ashlin Bangera
Wednesday, 4 December 2019

NCPA’s three-day extravaganza NCPA ADD Art Festival last week was a visual and intellectual treat for all. We caught up with Igudesman and Joo and Kommune groups prior to the fest

Aleksey Igudesman, violinist and Hyung-ki Joo, the pianist performed at the festival on November 30. Igudesman and Joo are internationally renowned for their exceptional musical skills and their perfectly timed comedy. 

When we caught up with Igudesman, he spoke about their collaboration and more. “I met Joo when I was 12, at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England. It was hate at first sight for both of us and we were always fighting. Then we bonded over ‘fish and chips’ which helped us become best friends,” he said. 

The two work in Western classical music which Igudesman said is too serious and boring for younger audiences. “That’s why we add an element of theatre and drama to our show. Our performance — A Little Nightmare Music is a play on words. People are afraid when things go wrong, but we ensure that in our performance, things go wrong on purpose. So you could say that our show is one big mistake,” said the violinist.

A Little Nightmare Music featured popular and classical sets as the performance went along. The captivating music with rib-tickling humour kept audiences on the edge of their seats. The show featured physical and musical comedy that is ideal for audiences aged 8 to 88.

Speaking about India and its musical audience, Igudesman said, “I had been to India about 20 years ago to learn Indian classical music. While audiences have similarities between them, they are also different in terms of what kind of comedy or performance they prefer. The Indian audience is rich in tradition and culture so we expected to have a parallel kind of spectators.”

Igudesman and Joo have worked with several popular names in the industry such as Hans Zimmer and Billy Joel. “I have worked with Hans Zimmer on several film soundtracks and we are often exchanging ideas with each other. He is an inspiration and we have become good friends through the years. We were really lucky to have such great figures in our life and we spend time with them whenever we can,” he added.
Igudesman has also co-founded the ‘Music Traveller’ app which allows musicians to book practice room for their music sessions. The app was started in Vienna and is slowly moving to other cities. Even Hans Zimmer is an investor in the app. The Leningrad-based violist also has a strong passion for cooking and travelling for food.

Of simple stories 
Kommune is a group of collective artists who indulge in various forms of art — from poetry to storytelling to music. The group is known for breaking norms and is considered as the country’s most exciting art performance. Gaurav Tripathi and Sheena Khalid are artists who are part of Kommune. 

“I perform poetry and stories at Kommune and I believe that it’s a great platform for individuals to come forward and express their talents. It’s really important for us that audiences enjoy our show and respond happily to it. By the end of the show, audiences must feel good about themselves,” said Gaurav.

Gaurav is more a Hindi spoken poet and storyteller who is well known for getting the audience thinking. He has also performed in several universities.

“I have been listening to Gaurav’s stories. They have been widely accepted by the audience. People can relate to his stories and as an artist, it’s very important that you are open and unique about your story. The story of an artist should resonate with the audience, that’s what matters,” said Sheena Khalid.

Sheena is a theatre director, writer and participates in Kommune as an artist. She is also a founding member of Patchworks Ensemble, a theatre company where she directed several shows. Gaurav and Sheena consider themselves lucky to be part of the NCPA’s ADD Art Festival. “There are so many talented people around us. It’s a place where like-minded people have gathered, so it’s a great experience,” she said.
Speaking about her performance as an artist, Sheena said, “My art form is based on experiences and life incidents. It largely revolves around identity and storytelling. Many of them are about relationships too. In a world that’s run by social media, simple stories are easier to comprehend for the audience.”

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