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Monday, Jun 24, 2002

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Melody sans barriers

The French musician duo M. Bernard Montrichard and M. Mansour enthralled the audience with a pulsating musical performance to celebrate the worldwide French music festival.

THEY CAME, they played, they ruled. They surpassed the euphoric swarm in a booming encore even as many were left gob-smacked by their intense magic. Knopfler himself, would have nodded his head in appreciation, happy at the way they strummed, were he to be present. Is there a better soubriquet to describe the awesome performance of the French duo M. Bernard Montrichard and M. Mansour who took the 200-odd crowd by storm on Tuesday last at The Tulip Manohar by their pulsating raw vocals and sheer mastery over the guitar.

The Frenchmen - - a part of Le Groupe GMT - - were touring the town as a part of the Fete de la Musique festivities, a typical French celebration observed worldwide to mark the occasion of summer solstice. Thanks to Alliance Francaise for regaling Hyderabad to a rare musical concert by Le Groupe GMT.

A light drizzle, some cocktails to warm up the sundown, a little bit smoke as a reprieve and a beguiling live music concert, the ambience for a perfect evening couldn't have been any better. And if the connection is French, you possibly couldn't ask for anything more at all. The crème de la crème of Hyderabad, mostly French spewers, were all there. So were the 20-odd Frenchmen, living in and around the city - - all decked up in the best of attire to be a part of the musical fiesta.

And as the master guitarists started strumming, beginning from a slow pace racing up to a higher tempo as the rhythm built up, the crowd was apparently lulled by their divine and soulful renditions. Vocalist Mansour who sang mostly in Wolof, a Senegalese parlance, was at his best as he kept on juggling between the harmonica and the guitar filling up the pauses with his divine voice.

With the energy of Jimi Hendrix as much as the melodies of Kansas and Yes and the open-spirit of Mc Laughlin or Peter Gabriel, Mansour enthused his listeners with a couple of English songs as well. Hendrix's Leather Wing was extremely well voiced by him. While he sang, Montrichard, on the other hand, complied and supplied the extended leads for his partner on his Xavier Petit acoustic guitar.

Their maturity and mastery over the stringed instruments was well evident from how they produced the music and handled the guitar. Sound ranging from a chopper taking off to the stillness of the night and of an almost equal variety kept the audience zapped throughout the two and half hour concert. While some were wowed at the amazing sounds and percussions, others marvelled at the speed of the fingers strumming the chords, which gave a near visual deception that it was a karaoke. But it wasn't! Such was the sheer magic of master musicians Le Groupe GMT.

The crowd cheered as Mansour announced that it was his first visit to India and he would like to keep coming here more often as the people were "colourful". "We have good vibrations with you," he said to the rejoicement of the people. And the people, despite the fact that they couldn't hum along with the music the two-member band played for the sheer ignorance of the language, got entranced to their hearts' content. Music indeed knows no language. Musiquies sans Frontieres.


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