IF Ensemble band on blending music with visual art

Brussels-based musical quartet ‘IF (Imaginary Folklores) Ensemble’, which is set to perform in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday as part of Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum’s Francophonie month celebrations, brings together “engaging acoustic music with captivating visual imagery.” The band’s play of improvisation is steeped in Western classical and jazz traditions and derives its inspiration from world music, into which they integrate the latest in digital arts.

IF Ensemble comprises Otso Lähdeoja (guitar, compositions) from Finland, the electronic music specialist of the band, Florian Guibert (flute), who is inspired by world music, Mauro Sarachian (violoncello), whose repertoire ranges from classical music and contemporary experimental music to tango, folk and film music, and Alexandre Berthier (scenography, projections), whose speciality in visual art has taken him across the world in collaboration with artist Karl-Otto von Oertzen under the name of Marswalkers. Excerpts from an e-mail interview with the band…

The origins

The band was formed by Otso and Florian in Brussels in 2010 as a duo. Soon the need arose for another instrument and we agreed on the cello. We finally found Mauro who fit the bill perfectly. Then, Alexandre jumped aboard to add a visual aspect to our music and broaden our field of action. While Otso holds a doctorate in electronic music, Florian is a professional musician with background in jazz. Mauro too is a professional musician with background in classical music. Alexandre, meanwhile, is a ‘pixel surgeon’ and studied fine art.

The name

We’re all from different countries – France, Finland and Argentina and we wanted to create music from our different influences. We’ve studied, played and been influenced by music of South America, Eastern Europe, Australia, Canada, India... Our music is the sum of all these differences; our own little folklore. And it all comes from our imagination. Therefore, we named it Imaginary Folklores.

Process of improvisation

The idea of a tune is composed by Otso. We all then work on it together on arrangements and structure. We follow each other in improvisation with a solo musician leading others.

Blending melody with visual art live on stage

The challenge is to reach coherency. Also, we consider the video as the fourth instrument in the ensemble. Alex needs to balance sound, video, and light.

On Indian music

We’ve listened to Indian music through recordings and live music concerts. Classical Indian music is really popular in the West.

(IF Ensemble will be performing at Co-Bank Auditorium at 6.30 p.m.)