East meets West and music meets art at a concert at Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan on April 7

Music and art will go hand in hand at a ‘musico-pictoral’ concert by Jacky Mouvillat and Anaka at Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan on April 7 at 6.30 p.m. Organised by Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum in association with the Embassy of France in India, the concert features Jacky on an instrument called the Stick Chapman, Anaka on a canvas, Manosh Bardhan on the tabla and Matt Littlewood on the saxophone. Anaka will also be singing at the concert. Anaka and Jacky are the leaders of the group. While Jacky is from Chamonix, France, Anaka is from Paris, France. The duo talks about their musical journey. Excerpts from an email interview with Anaka and Jacky.

The musical sojourn

Jacky: My father forced me to learn the accordion when I was a child. I later learnt to play the electric guitar. In 1977, while living in the United States, I saw Tony Levin on the Stick Chapman with Peter Gabriel.

I fell in love with the instrument and went to meet the creator of the instrument, Emmet Chapman in Los Angeles. He sold me a Stick. Although I play various musical instruments, I prefer playing my music to the accompaniment of the Stick Chapman. The Stick looks like a guitar but is actually closer to a piano as you can play rhythm and melody at the same time.

Anaka: I have a musical background in jazz. My father was a drummer and my mother was a jazz singer. I have always lived with music around me. I was not taught anything; I learnt music by ear.

Sharing the music

Jacky: My compositions are inspired by my travels. I have travelled to most parts of the world and have been busy trying to promote the Stick Chapman. Anaka, Manosh, Matt and I have recently released an album called French Touch, which was recorded in Pondicherry.

Anaka: Jacky and I have played with several artistes. We met 22 years ago; I was a chorister in a rock band he was leading at that time. Manosh was the first musician we met when we first came down to Pondicherry in 2007. He has his own recording studio in Pondicherry. Matt, who resides in Auroville joined the group. When Jacky, Manosh, Matt and I play, East meets West. Basab Sen has lent strains from the sitar in French Touch. He is a bit of a recluse and never performs in public. Jacky, Manosh, Matt and I will be performing songs from the album at the concert in Thiruvananthapuram. Copies of the album will be up for sale after the concert. We are currently working on a new album.

A fusion

Anaka: I like the idea of fusing art with music. I see notes as a palette of colours from which I can paint the music around me. I will write a text inspired from my arrival in the city using a technique called mirror writing. This is illegible to the audience. During the second half of the show, I will turn the mirror so that it becomes legible to the audience. I will then start embellishing it.

Discovering India

Jacky: This is our first time to Thiruvananthapuram and we are looking forward to exploring the city. We have never seen any part of India, apart from Pondicherry, so we are looking forward to our performance in Goa. We might also perform in Bangalore.