On 18th of September, 2009, I got a chance to listen to my first western musical concert. It happened to be presented by the Embassy of Mexico in Epicentre, Gurgaon. I got bit late to reach the concert (which I do not like and prefer not to replicate) but still enjoyed it to the fullest extent.
The artists in concert were a father-son duo from Mexico: Eblén Macari and Kabalan Macari. However, they collaborated with a very young Tabla player of India (still in his teens) named Pranshu Chatur Lal, the grandson of famous Pt. Chatur Lal (after the recital, I talked to them and they told me that they met just two days back before the concert day; they practiced twice and delivered the recital; more of it later).
I was accompanied by two of my friends: Sukhchain Singh and Rajwant Singh. We also made a sort of combo, you can say, as we three are mechanical engineers and belong to same district of Punjab state. They were also very excited to listen to this concert because they have interest in percussions and are learning Jazz Drums and Salsa.
When we entered the auditorium, only Eblén and Kabalan were performing, which meant that they were still concentrating on Mexican and Arabian tunes and styles and have not brought the Indian flavor into it. However, after 2-3 more composition, Pranshu came and joined them. You can well imagine the power of Tabla and Djembe over a single Spanish Guitar: the beats and impact were powerful. Eblén, owing to his huge experience in music, seemed so perfectly poised and enjoying his chair-seat and co-ordinating with two young and budding artists on percussion instruments. Kabalan was understandably very excited and enjoying while playing on Djembe using very special techniques. Pranshu was like the Indian representative to this ensemble of musicians and audience where different flavor and tastes were seeming to merge.
There was a variety of compositions that they played involving Mexican, African, Arabian, and Indian styles bringing together this widely spread out geographical positions into one place through music. While talking to the artists, PR people and Cultural Attache to the Embassy of Mexico in India, we agreed that bringing together art and music from different countries do help in understanding different cultures better and getting a real insight as how they have been developed over the period of time.
The control of the artists over their instruments was remarkable. Kabalan seemed to be enjoying every moment of it and he was just loving the beats…I remember him using his fingers like a doctor on the body of a patient while performing a serious surgery. He was delicate in placement but still the sounds were percussive-impacting.
Apart from producing music from instruments, Kabalan also seemed to be good in using computers, technical sounds and sound engineering. We noticed an Apple Mac on stage and a logo of Apple Computers on his Djembe. They also featured a piece where Eblén used electronic sounds to mingle with his guitar.
The young Tabla player, Pranshu, needs special mention. He was humble in his approach but authoritative while playing the Tabla. I should mention that his training has been very nicely handled by his father. I see a bright future of this young lad as a high-quality Tabla player.
One feature of these live concerts is that you got to talk to the artists after it is completed and you can share some real insightful thoughts from them and get to know them better. Sukhchain, Rajwant and me shared some great moments together with the artists trying to pick some words from Spanish and trying to impress them with our limited knowledge of music. 🙂
We also talked to PR person Pankaj Sukhija, who appreciably introduced us to the Cultural Attache of Embassy of Mexico in India, Conrado Tostado, who was so excitingly receptive to us. It was so nice to talk to those people and share some good moments. We also talked to the elder sister of Pranshu, Shruti Lal, who was instrumental in bringing the collaboration together. So, apart from simply attending to the recital, we had good time with the artists and people behind the organization of such a concert.
I happen to click some photographs of the recital, which I am sharing here: