Sound Effects

When Austrian classics,playing on the violins,met Indian ragas flowing from the sarangi,the result was a unique musical jugalbandi.

Written by Pallavi Jassi | Published:February 22, 2009 2:38 am

The rhythms of Austria met the ragas of India in perfect harmony

When Austrian classics,playing on the violins,met Indian ragas flowing from the sarangi,the result was a unique musical jugalbandi. The occasion was a celebration of 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Austria on Thursday and the amphitheatre at the Select Citywalk mall in Saket saw a musical meeting between an all-women band,Rondo Vienna from Austria,and Indian classical musician Kamal Sabri.

“It’s our first trip to India and there is no apprehension about the performance because people here understand

music no matter where it is from,” said Barbara Helfgott,singer and violinist of the band. Rondo Vienna began as a classical orchestra six years ago and subsequently infused contemporary and modern sounds like the Swiss pop.

Although only six members,between 24-34 years of age,are visiting India,Helfgott said that the maximum number of members could go up to 25.

The event was a first of sorts for Sabri. Though he has collaborated with international artists like Duran Duran and Massive Attack,he’s never matched tunes with an all-women act before. “It was a unique experience. There is a lot of similarity in our music and we got along very well,” he said,as the Austrian ladies took charge of the stage and instruments like the drum and violin.

Helfgott added that though it was her first trip to India,she wasn’t a stranger to Indian rhythms and flavours. “I was introduced to a lot of Bollywood films,songs and Indian food by a friend back home,so it’s not an entirely foreign tour. It feels like I know this place,” she smiled. While the band will fly back after a few more performances in India,Sabri awaits the release of his upcoming album Sarangi Funk’s in March.

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