Jazzy and snazzy

Triotonos, the fusion music makers talk about their jam sessions on Skype, Indian Classical music and their passion for music.

Updated - October 18, 2016 12:46 pm IST

Published - January 19, 2012 06:37 pm IST

Members of the band Triotonos at Taramati Baradari, before their performance as part of Hyderabad Literary Festival 2012 Photo: Vishnupriya Bhandaram

Members of the band Triotonos at Taramati Baradari, before their performance as part of Hyderabad Literary Festival 2012 Photo: Vishnupriya Bhandaram

Triotonos means three sounds made simultaneously.

Max Clouth of the band says that it seemed to be the perfect name when they started out as a three member band playing bass, guitar and percussion each; the name suggested three tones. Since then the band has evolved, Triotonos has lost a member and gained two, Vaibhav and Anoop.

Max and Marc are from Germany but for the last couple of years, Max has been calling Mumbai his home. How did the band come together? Max and Marc met each other in a music school in Germany. Max met Anoop and a year later Vaibhav in India. Vaibhav plays the cajon, an Afro-Peruvian musical instrument. “I used to listen to Trilok Gurtu's music. He is one of the greatest Cajon instrumentalists and my interest in African and Brazilian music inspired me to learn how to play it,” says Vaibhav.

Marc says that each member of the band brings in a certain cultural background. “Max studied jazz guitar as well as classical acoustic guitar and lot of studies in Flamenca music and now Indian music for quite a while,” he says.

Max who used to train with Pandit Narayan Joshi says that for him every Indian musician is like a treasure trove of distinct and nurturing sound. Max says, “What attracted me to Indian music was the similarity it has with jazz in its structure. Both jazz and classical Indian music have the highest development of improvisation and they are both very rhythmical. Western Classical music is not so much about improvisation and rhythm, unlike Carnatic music which is the most rhythmic music form I have ever come across.”

Max is not scared of the rigidity of Indian Classical music; he says that once you master these forms, you can make the music flow. Triotonos plays fusion music but Max feels that a lot of the fusion music that is made in India isn't really fusion, “Putting different musicians together without any concept is not fusion. Good fusion music is about understanding each other's cultural background and then making use of that in the music. It requires knowledge and open-mindedness.”

Except for Vaibhav and Max, the other members stay in different cities. Marc lives in Germany and Anoop lives in Pune. “We often jam on Skype” they all laugh. Anoop, however, sums up their dynamics and says that while there isn't a common language that brings them together, its music they go by. He signs off, “We understand each other's musical grammar and that's all you need to make good music.

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