Sunday, January 14, 2007
I'm a bit wary of fusion bands that are formed by NRIs and foriegners attempting to play Indian instruments. It can come together wonderfully. There is also the chance that the whole thing that seems like such a novelty in their homeland can fall flat on its face in a more realistic environment.
Autorickshaw from Canada fell in the latter category. I have to be fair and say that they weren't with their regular lineup, percussionist Patrick Graham sitting in for Debasis Sinha and Rich Brown being replaced on bass. As expected the sound at the very well meaning but terribly executed Sunday Jam was horrendous making things even worse for the band. I checked out a couple of videos of these guys online and they were a great deal tighter than they were in Bangalore. I haven't seen or heard Patrick Graham in any other setting, solo or group but here he was quite insipid, hardly giving a robust percussive base to the rest of the musicians.
Ed Hanley on tabla illustrated why foriegners taking up Indian Classical music have to work twice as hard. I'm sure there are 100s of tabla players in Bangalore alone who could have usurped his place in the line up with much better results.
Suba Sankaran, who apparently plays the piano as well only sang at the Jam. Again she looked distinctly uncomfortable throughout the performance barely making the cut on the vocal improvisations on Spanish Caravan. The less said about her attempts at infusing some Carnatic elements into the mix, the better. I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt yet again, maybe she's better in more condusive sound settings.
Overall a very disappointing performance after braving a lineup of probably the worst bands in the world. I really would like to see Autorickshaw again with their original lineup and good sound to make final judgement but this particular show left me cold. A photo op and nothing more.