French Artists Completed The Last Leg Of All-India Tour At The River Bourne Centre In Tripunithura

For Elie Ossipovitch, Gabrielle Weisbuch and Vincent Patrin, India is a gateway of opportunities. And you might ask, what do they love the most about the country? “Masala dosa,” Elie jokes. Quickly he says, “There is a lot going on in the country, it’s hard to pick one aspect that we love. We love everything about India.” The French artists completed the last leg of their all-India tour with their gypsy jazz/ Western classical music performance at the River Bourne Centre in Tripunithura the other day.

What these artists have amongst them is completely different from what others do. They have two improvised acts during their sessions. “The first act is Western classical music with contemporary dancing. In this, I play the guitar and Gabrielle dances. I play pieces created in the 15th century to the present time. The second act is gypsy jazz. During this, I play the viola de gamba and Vincent plays the guitar,” says Elie.

Gypsy jazz is a style which was invented by Jean ‘Django’ Reinhardt in France at the beginning of the 1930s.“But, together, what we do is improvise. Eighty per cent of the show is improvised,” Vincent chips in. So who improvises? “Both of us,” say Elie and Vincent together.

What is interesting is that their tour in India is the first time the three artists are performing together. “We are all artists from Lyon in France. I met Gabrielle at an event three years ago. Since then, we have performed at different stages. Also, Vincent and I used to have a duet band,” says Elie.
Though they perform together, the artists, who have different stories to tell, are on different journeys themselves.

Elie’s journey with music began at the age of seven when he began learning percussion instruments. Then moved on to heavy metal and finally took up Western classical music. At the age of 19, he moved to India for three years where he taught at schools in Delhi and Bengaluru. “It is in India that I first began performing. On returning to France, I began learning viola de gamba, which is a rare instrument,” says Elie. Back in India after eight years, Elie feels he has a responsibility. “Violo de gamba, developed in the 15th century France, lost its popularity after the fall of the noble class in the country. The instrument was the epitome of the nobility. Since the beginning of the century, efforts are being made to revive the instrument. During this visit to India, I realised there is a scope to try new things with the instrument. For instance, on this visit, I have realised that the viola de gamba has not been played in Carnatic or Hindustani music,” he says.

Vincent Patrin, on the other hand, was a journalist for 12 years. “I began playing the guitar since I was 17. Later I never had the time to play regularly,” he says in a thick French accent. Just before leaving for India, he quit his job to follow his love for music. Having played gypsy jazz for 10 years, Vincent hopes to start his own band on his return.

Gabrielle Weisbuch began dancing since the age of 17. “Though I was involved in gymnastics during my childhood, I was never interested in the competition aspect,” she says. She began training ballet, contemporary and tango. “When I dance, I want my audience to feel a mixture of all emotions. For this, I have been trying different styles,” she says.

The session was coordinated by Rajmohan Varma of Tripunithura Sangeetha Sabha in association with Perfect Pitch Music Academy. On Saturday, the group performed at the Cabral Yard under the name ‘The Cagade Trio’. They also performed at Hampi, Gokarna and Goa.

Source: The New Indian Times

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