Zeroing in on the right note

Shoonya to jam with African artistes in the city tomorrow

October 22, 2010 01:01 pm | Updated 01:01 pm IST - BANGALORE:

BRIDGING THE GAP: An effort to change our attitude towards thousands of Africans who stay here.

BRIDGING THE GAP: An effort to change our attitude towards thousands of Africans who stay here.

Not only does music know no boundaries, it can also help transcend a few barriers of the mind. A concert slated to be held in the city on Saturday has Bangalore band Shoonya showcasing its love and appreciation for African music by performing with four young artistes who are currently studying in the city.

The six-member band, which describes itself as a collaborative platform for people from various arts and genres to experiment with music and defy all creative boundaries, will perform with Armel, Guy Roger, Landry and Wilfried, all students from African countries. While Armel will lend some soulful string to the music by playing the kora — a 21-string harp-lute popular in West Africa — Roger and Landry work the hand drum djembe and lend some strapping vocals. Shoonya will feature regulars Ashok Kumar on the djembe, vocals by Sumathi and Chitra, Sridhar on the saxophone, Suman on the flute and Ashwin on the drums.

The cause

Says Ashok Kumar: “It is not just about playing African music. This is our humble effort to address a problem that is much larger: one that lies in our attitudes towards scores of African students who make Bangalore their home.” He says he finds that in colleges these students are left alone, and other students are hesitant to interact with them.

Conscious of the racial undertones African students face in the city, he hopes that a platform like music will help “build the bridges” and allow these visitors from a great continent to share their rich culture with Bangaloreans. “Music is a great tool to get them start feeling at home,” he adds.


With this concert, Shoonya seeks to create their own dialect, culled from influences that range from folk music, Carnatic and Hindustani music to West African rhythms.

The concert will be held at the Alliance Francaise at 7 p.m. and tickets, priced Rs. 100, are available at K.C. Das Sweets, Church Street, and the Alliance Francaise Café. They can also be booked at

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