The hills came alive with Eliana Burki’s performance on the alphorn
Eliana Burki, with her stage-long traditional alphorn of the pristine Swiss alps created contemporary jazz music “Innovation in Tradition”, a concert organised by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Consulate of Switzerland, Bangalore, The Embassy of Switzerland, New Delhi, India Foundation for the Arts and Black Dog at the Grand Ashok. Meant to be an open poolside concert, this jazz-fusion concert saw the 25-year-old Eliana jam with her band-member — drummer Anthony Lo Gerfo, and Bangalore Carnatic musicians — Karthik Mani on the ghatam and Geetha Navale on the veena.
A washed out evening and a delayed concert, “Innovation in Tradition” with the fascinating mountain woodwind alphorn that can be dismantled, failed to produce music that would have had the desired effect as in an open-air concert. But, the instrument or communication tool of the mountains, that can be heard for hills on end, brought the Alps’ with its resonating music to ground level. Latino and jazz rhythms swayed in the air as she evolved sounds and notes. Though she didn’t sing, the artiste took jazz to a contemporary level. After a solo performance by Geetha Navale, the three other artistes created unique sounds of jazz, with a Carnatic touch. With the veena sweet on the ears, the sharp tones of the ghatam, deep bass of the alphorn and drum, the four musicians from two different musical backgrounds and schools, created a distinct style. You could have been at a Carnatic concert with the appreciative thigh-slapping.
For the audience to have a clearer sound of the alphorn, Eliana lifted the instrument towards them. The flourish of the drums with its catchy beats, together with the ghatam, formed musical improvisations. Poignant, reflexive and soulful notes emerged as Geetha performed the Ragam, Tanam and Pallavi. With perfect synchronisation and co-ordination, the four artists performed music that was as far away as the Alps of Switzerland and U.S., combining it with local notes and style of South India.AYESHA MATTHAN