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On a sonic adventure

Destined to play together Matte Palasti

Destined to play together Matte Palasti   | Photo Credit: mail

Hungarian guitar-percussion duo Matte Palasti and Tamas Siska hope to take back an Indian touch to their rich musical repertoire

Hungarian guitarist Matte Palasti and percussionist Tamas Siska are always on an adventure. Whether they’re at home in Hungary or travelling around the world, they are constantly in search of new music to add to their vibrant repertoire.

And that’s exactly what they did in their debut trip to Bengaluru. Hosted by The Bangalore School of Music and the Balassi Institute-Hungarian Institute for Information and Culture, the duo was in the city for a recent jazz workshop and guitar-percussion concert at the Aruna Sunderlal Auditorium in The Bangalore School of Music.

“This is one of our best workshops. We had a lot of children in the audience and when we interacted with them, we found them to be absolutely amazing and super talented. Everyone had a good time,” says a jubilant Matte.

Tamas adds excitedly: “We make ‘together music’ so we love involving everyone. We invited the kids on stage and we made music together.”

In their early 20s, Matte and Tamas play jazz with a maturity well beyond their years. Their musical improvisations are a blend of fiery flamenco, world music, jazz and upbeat Brazilian rhythms.

On their first visit to India, the duo chorus that they have already fallen in love with the country. “It’s amazing. We love the people. The weather is so beautiful here, unlike Hungary,” quips Tamas while Matte adds: “We will come back here for sure.”

While their set list usually comprises jazz standards, swings, Broadway, flamenco and Hungarian folk songs, the duo love to improvise and hope to add an Indian melody or rhythm to their soundscape. “Indian music is really hard. But we like it,” says Matte while Tamas says: “It’s also very colourful. Maybe we’ll learn something here and add it to our music. Indian music is deeply rooted like Hungarian music. So we will definitely take something back with us musically.”

While the duo’s meeting point was at the Snetberger Music Talent Centre in Hungary, they emphasise that they were destined to play together. Matte says: “I started playing the violin when I was six and then moved to the guitar. This has been my life ever since.” Tamas has a similar story: “I too started with the drums when I was around six years old. I went on to play jazz and pop music.”

They chorus: “When we met at the Snetberger Music Talent Centre around four years ago, we clicked instantly. Usually everyone sets out to form a band; we gelled well together and decided to keep it as a duo. This set-up works well for us.” Matte adds: This is hard since it’s just one guitar and rhythms. But we love it because it’s so challenging. That’s what sets us apart from the rest.”

Since their destined meeting, they’ve seen their music evolve over the years. “We now live in Budapest. There are plenty of opportunities for us and we play as much as we can,” says Tamas.

At the heart of their music, Matte says he handles the melodies while Tamas focuses on the rhythms. “We practice and make the music together. We stop when we know this is good. It’s a very organic process. We listen to others a lot too. We sometimes do more listening than playing. We keep learning along the way.”

Tamas points out that they are constantly searching for new dynamic sounds. “And that’s what we tell other musicians too. You’ll know it when you hear it. And when that happens, just let your music guide you. That’s the power and beauty of music.”

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:02:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/On-a-sonic-adventure/article16675461.ece

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