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Cultural confluence

VISHNUPRIYA BHANDARAM
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Passing by Akim el Sikameya, the French singer with Algerian roots philosophises about music

Different beats Akim El Sikameya
Different beats Akim El Sikameya

H is salt and pepper curly hair keeps bouncing and his French accent butters up ones ears. On a balmy afternoon at Ista, Akim el Sikameya, the Algeria born singer and violinist brings on his Mediterranean charisma with his signature Top-C voice.

Akim is touring the country to promote his latest album, Un Chouia d'amour — a little bit of love. The album is inspired from modern love stories and relationships. He says that the future of music lies in globalisation where distinct cultures can merge together to create a new line of music. Akim uses a mix of genres by incorporating flamenco, gypsy and jazz music. Speaking about India, Akim says that he is heavily inspired by the economic, physical and linguistic diversity of the country. He says that his music aims to be ‘entire cultural'— music without boundaries and inclusive of all. “I have been intrigued by the mystique of this country and my music has influences from the Gypsy music of Rajasthan, so I am very sure that people can relate to my music because I bring local flavours to my music,” he says.

This libertine artiste is also known for his unique style of playing the violin, where he rests the violin on his thigh rather than his neck. He says that this style stemmed out of his need to balance singing along with playing the violin.

How did he get into music? Akim thanks his Andalusian roots and says, “Music was omnipresent in our life. Even if we didn't play music, it would get ingrained in our psyche.” A closet engineer, Akim arrived to Paris in the early 90s to study further, but things took a turn for the better when he met a music producer. “I started getting noticed for my music and I decided to create a space for myself in the music world. Education however is important and is something each individual should not let go,” he adds.

Akim is passionate about Arab-Andalusian music and says the music is more of a philosophy than a musical concept. He explains that it is music born of out three distinct and monotheist culture and is a coming together of those cultures. Music he feels should be free from the traditional; he says that there is a strong need to discover influences and bridge traditional music with the contemporary. “There is a need for us to analyse different styles, mix and match to make the music interesting and soothing to the ears without worrying about being in line with traditional rules of music-making” he says. How does Akim make his music? “I used everything around me, nature, conversations. Everything inspires me. I even use technology, but it's important to know that technology isn't the destination but the road to reaching good music.”

Akim el Sikameya performed at the Qutub Shahi Tombs in the city recently at an event organised by The Alliance Francaise of Hyderabad.

VISHNUPRIYA BHANDARAM

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