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Jazz concert: French musicians look to India for inspiration

They released their first album, Le Voyage (The Journey), in 2012. For their second album, it’s India they have hooked on to as inspiration.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Chandigarh |
March 24, 2016 12:22:08 pm
jazz, jazz india, jazz artists, india jazz, chandigarh, chandigarh news (From left) French artistes Romain Timmers, Erika Lernot and Siam Lee in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Jasbir Malhi)

A year ago, Paris was getting stressful for French singer Erika Lernot and it was then she decided to come to India on a musical quest.

“I was searching for inspiration for our second album. Staying put in one place tends to make one complacent. Travel always brings with it new experiences and emotions. So, when my best friend, who is half French and half Indian and lives in Puducherry, asked us to visit India, we took the opportunity and flew here,” said Lernot.

Since then, Lernot has already penned six songs for her untitled album. A French singer-poetess and fashion model with roots in the Caribbean, Lernot, along with guitarist and composer Siam Lee, percussionist Romain Timmers and bassist Mishko, was in Chandigarh to perform in a jazz music concert at hotel Mountview organised by the Alliance Francaise on Wednesday.

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After performing as a chorist for other artistes for a few years and travelling all over the world, Lernot started her own musical project with Lee 10 years ago and has been producing music that is a groovy mix of the Caribbean music with a touch of soul and jazz.

They released their first album, Le Voyage (The Journey), in 2012. For their second album, it’s India they have hooked on to as inspiration.

“We are still in the process of completing it. We are moved by the music here, especially the classical and its ragas. There is a raga for every time of the day, season, mood, something that we don’t have in our music. It was fascinating,” said Lee, who, among other Indian influences, has used bansuri, in this album.

The vibrancy of India, its colourful people and food reflect in Lernot’s lyrics. “My music is all about finding joy when life is difficult. Music gave me the courage and strength and reason to carry on. It saved me when I had hit rock bottom and I want to pass this hope to others through my music,” said Lernot, who sings in Creole, French, English, and hopefully in her second album, in Hindi. Language, said Lernot, is another instrument to play with.

While there is music for entertainment, their music is for the soul, said Lee, for whom music has been a school of life.

“It helped me in trying times, in channelising my energies and create my place in the world. My aim is to teach children, help and empower them through music,” said Lee.

It was in India that they came across French percussionist, dancer and circus artiste Timmers, who has been living here for three-and-a-half-years and is working towards revival of circus in the country.

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