International guitarists want to jam with Ravi Shankar, Chaurasia

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NEW DELHI - Music is said to transcend borders. No wonder a group of international guitarists on a tour of India aspire to play with sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and flautist Hari Prasad Chaurasia.

The artists, Frank Wingold, Eric Vaarzon Morel, Dave Goodman and Dylan Fowler, toured various Indian cities during Nov 10-15.

“It would be a dream to play with Pandit Ravi Shankar. I’ve heard his music and it is great,” Goodman told IANS.

The Canadian guitarist said he had heard a lot of musicians from India and only has words of appreciation for them.

“I’ve seen some of the most incredible musicians from India, there’s a lot of pop music, a lot of rock music here…whatever I’ve heard I’ve liked,” he said.

Fowler too is all praise for Chaurasia and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain. “They are all great,” he said.

The guitarists, who will be playing in New Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai as part of the Black Dog Easy Evenings tour, say they took a liking to India’s popular Bollywood culture ever since they saw Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire”.

“I saw ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which has a certain reference to the Bollywood culture, and I really loved it,” said Wingold.

Morel echoed his views.

“I loved ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, it was really nice,” said the French guitarist.

The four of them said they were having a great time in India.

“India is a very interesting country. The culture is so different and I’m very interested in the spirit and attitude of the people. I haven’t been here long but people here are more relaxed,” said Wingold from Germany.

Morel is also gaga over the famed Indian hospitality.

“People treat us really well and it looks spectacular. I’m a flamenco guitarist and it is interesting to be playing here since my music has its roots in Rajasthan. It was originally made by gypsies from India,” Morel said.

The musicians also hope to take back a lot from India.

While Morel wants to buy silk shirts, small idols of elephants and Hindu gods, Fowler is hopeful of taking back the “incredible energy, vibrancy and intense culture of Indians”.

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