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Home > Entertainment > Music
Natraja is here and that too all the way from France!   
Manushri Bahukhandi

In the Indian cosmology, Natraj, a form of Shiva, dances till the destruction of ignorance is complete. This dance is known as the Tandava. But for these three musicians from France known as Natraja XT, this unique group consists of Pierre Moitram, Richard Bernet and Kapi, it’s only music.

If the name of the French group surprised you then you have to wait till the time you hear what these musicians actually play. We’ve got Pierre who played sitar, Richard on sarod and esraj and Kapi who plays on the computer.

On March 23th The Embassy of France in India, the Delegation General de l Allaince Fracaise de Paris en Inde, teamed up to bring this extraordinary trio to New Delhi. As Richard says, “Our first album the Tandav was a spontaneous one. We just came around and decided to mix in whatever music we knew.” “But seeing that Tandava was such a big hit we will definitely put in much more time and effort.”

But why the name Natarja XT? “Its simple Pierre said, “When Kapi joined we had one more person in the group, so we decided to keep the name XT which means extended.” Though for Pierre and Richard its not for the first time they are visiting India.

Pierre has studied Indian sitar from 1972-75 in Paris with professor Pramod Kumar who was a disciple of Pt Ravi Shankar.. From 1981-83 he wrote a thesis on North Indian classical music. From 1980 to 1997 he has given several concerts in France and abroad and he also created an association called Novaratari in 1987. As for Richard or attimes known as Rishi he commenced his learning in 1972 in music school of maestro Ali Akhbar Khan. Richard after returning from US participated with a group with the group Origine with the Lal Ganesh trio.

Richard and Pieere who love Indian musicians say, “There is so much depth in Indian music that anyone can be drawn towards it.” They further added that whenever any of the Indian maestro comes to abroad to play they make it a point to be in that concert.

But what drew them into Indian culture at first? Pierre says, “When I used to see map of India I used to trace all the roads leading to India, for me India was always a place associated with rajas and rani and palaces. But sadly I didn’t see any of this,” he says laughingly.

Though Richard and Pierre have a huge collection of Indian maestros collection, its Kapi who says “I love rock”. Kapi loves Woodstock and computer generated music.

Travelling all over India this year by road, they also visited Ahemdabad where Richard says, “Though devastation from the earthquake was not that much (in Ahmedabad) but yes people are definitely scared.”

However for these trio there’s nothing that can reduce there passion for India and Indian music. As Richard sums up, “As regards the difference of classical Indian music, which is in essence melodic and monotonal, the instruments allow us to enrich our compositions in harmony and ambience.”

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