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Meet the Buchpatrovitch Trio who are in India for the second time

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Vincent Patrin, Gabrielle Weisbuch and Élie Ossipovitch’s performance combines gypsy jazz, contemporary dance and the viola da gamba

“The Buchpatrovitch Trio is a project just for India,” say the members of the group, who are back in the country for the second time. Comprising French artistes — contemporary and tango dancer Gabrielle Weisbuch, gypsy jazz guitarist Vincent Patrin and classical guitarist and viola de gamba player Élie Ossipovitch — the trio (Buchpatrovitch being a portmanteau of their surnames) performed at Radisson Blu Atria in the city recently.

While they perform in other bands and Gabrielle and Élie perform together as do Vincent and Élie, their work as a trio is only available to Indian audiences.

On how it is to be back in India and what it is like to perform here, Élie, who has history with the country having lived here for three years, teaching and performing, says: “It is an interesting, mixed crowd. So, Bangalore was a big surprise but we have also played in places such as Palakkad and a college with 2,000 students, which was fun. In smaller places, they do not get much exposure to Western culture. So, as an artiste, it is nice to see people discover your art. It is a lot of emotion and something magical happens because they are discovering us and we are discovering India as well.”

15th Century instrument

After playing classical guitar for 10 years, Élie realised it was hard to “do something new because so many things have been done”. That is when the 15th Century instrument — the viola da gamba entered — the picture. “I wanted to play a cello and then discovered viola da gamba which is a mix between the cello and guitar. I wanted to do something which had not been done before. So, I took up this instrument which is not as famous and I play other kinds of music on it such as pop, jazz…many, many things. It is really interesting as a musician.”

On the other hand, Vincent, a former journalist, who has been playing gypsy jazz or jazz manouche for 10 years now, says there are many people all over the world playing this type of music (though he has not come across many in India), adding that he saw people playing gypsy jazz in Vietnam, and that it can also be heard in Woody Allen films.

Meet the Buchpatrovitch Trio who are in India for the second time

Talking about the origins of gypsy jazz (the main instruments used being guitar, violin, double bass and clarinet), he says, “The godfather of gypsy jazz is Django Reinhard who created this style of music in 1930. The story is that he lost the use of two fingers during a fire in his caravan in 1928. He was a genius and so he adapted this technique to be able to play guitar again. At the same time, there was the influence of jazz from the US, music from eastern Europe and a French style called musette. So, that is a kind of music by mixing history.”

Élie adds that it is not intellectual jazz as it is based on traditional music prompting Vincent to agree, “No, no. It is not intellectual. A lot of people love this type of music because it is easy to listen to and understand.”

Dancer in the trio

As for the dancer in the trio, Gabrielle who has been dancing for 12 years after giving up gymnastics, says she will be performing contemporary because as the saying goes, ‘It takes two to tango’!

To the question of what stories she is tells through her dance and from where she takes inspiration, she says, “I improvise. So, when Élie and I perform together there is a story with a beginning, middle and end. But here, as part of the trio, I try to clear (my mind) before each dance to be able to respond and be fully present in the moment.”

On whether she plans to learn any traditional Indian dances, Bharatnatya lessons seem to top the list. “It is interesting for me to be able to understand the practices from the inside so I will learn something about dancing and life too.”

Élie adds, “I think one of the main ideas of coming to India and receiving from Indian culture and different bands/groups is that by mixing (our) differences, there can be richness and strength. You should share different languages and ways to see things and then you can be aware as to what can be done and be more tolerant. It is an idea that deserves to be defended.”

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 7:09:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/meet-the-buchpatrovitch-trio-who-are-in-india-for-the-second-time/article30556291.ece

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