The Jarry Singla Trio Cast Their Spell on Calcutta

Jarry Singla Trio Performing Live in Calcutta

Jarry Singla Trio Performing Live in Calcutta

Kolkata, December 10, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio/ Penning Creations): Renowned German jazz group The Jarry Singla Trio kick-started their Indian tour with a captivating performance at Kolkata’s Goethe Institut on Friday December 9. Amid the tragedy of deaths the city had been struck with at AMRI Hospital, the Goethe Institut (Max Mueller Bhavan) provided the city with a kind of tranquility following the chaotic events of the rest of the day.

The group consists of Jarry Singla, Christian Raymond, and Ramesh Shotham. While the first two are of German-Indian origin, Shotham is a reputed percussionist originally from Chennai, now residing in Cologne.

Singla, having played with many well known Jazz artists such as Julian Arguelles, Bruce Arnold, and Tony Moreno, has got together with bassist Raymond and percussionist Shotham, to present the cross cultural theme of ‘Eastern Flowers’. The music, for the evening, was meant to be a fusion of German jazz with touches of Indian classical music, particularly from the south.

The trio expressed their regret at the hospital fire disaster and clearly seemed affected by it, as was seen during their emotionally saturated performance of Ol Za Hory – a Ukrainian song dedicated to the victims and their families. As the song went on, every piano stroke, pull of the string and hit on the drum seemed to be emotionally charged.

The crowd was not as strong in number as you would have hoped. The disastrous nature of the hospital fire earlier in the day contributed almost solely to that. Despite the setback, those among the audience were soon helpless in a different way – spell bound by the music.

Every song performed like the opener Mineralle, Mision Dolores, or Blumenbein, each carried its particular sensuous signature. The combination between Singla’s piano, Raymond’s double bass and Shotham’s innovative drumming blended together like ice cubes in hot water.

Shotham displayed some ingenious percussion with his playing of the Indian earthen pot and ‘Dhol’ – a kind of Indian snare drum played with the hand. His use of the hi-hat and cymbals, combined with sharp and accurate drum strokes created a brilliant base for Singla and Raymond to complement each other’s piano and bass sounds.

The trio had an unusual chemistry playing among them, hardly glancing at each other through most of the tracks – playing almost lost in their own worlds. Yet the music never seemed to suffer.

Their songs seemed to rake an essence of inspiration from different genres of western music. A drumming solo by Shotham combined with Raymond’s double bass took you back Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecilia and Amy Winehouse’s version of Valerie.

In Singla’s piano, there were some distant influences visible from Deep Purple’s Child In Time and Norah Jones’ Cold Cold Heart – something no musician would be ashamed to admit to. It was one of those performances that can be anything but appreciated in all its beauty.

It was a wholesome performance with synchronised crescendos, abrupt drop in scales and tones, and the musical dialogues between the artistes that took the audience on an audible roller coaster ride. It was indeed an evening to cherish.


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