Sherazade and Lavion Rose bring World Music to Kolkata

Breaking barriers through music in the 'City of Joy'


News - India & You

February 20, 2017

/ By / Kolkata

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Sherazade, the vocalist for the ensemble Sherazade and Lavion Rose, in performance in Mumbai

Sherazade, the vocalist for the ensemble Sherazade and Lavion Rose, in performance in Mumbai

Music lovers in Kolkata are witnessing diverse forms of music coming in, with acts bringing in world music to the city.

In the multicultural and vibrantly flavoured society of India, music remains a sphere where diversity is still widely celebrated. With mainstream acts and big names coming into the ‘City of Joy’, Kolkata, in eastern India, music is seeing an international essence being added. However, even smaller acts with unique sounds are making it to the city, as a delightful experience for those who are open to different kinds of music.

On Saturday evening, Sherazade and Lavion Rose treated music lovers to their gypsy jazz styled world music, at the Gorky Sadan – The Russian Centre of Science and Culture, in collaboration with Alliance Française du Bengale. Multi-cultural in both her background and influence, Sherazade takes Russian and Oriental music, classical and traditional, with lyrics that are reminiscent of many blues songs. Performing with a five-man French band Lavion Rose, Sherazade stated that it was their first time in India. “We have performed in Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and now Kolkata. We really enjoyed this trip as we met many nice people and discovered beautiful places,” she said, adding, “Most of all, we really loved your food and traditional dresses. It was also impressive to see this mix of different religions in one place and to find those people living together.”

With songs such as ‘Armenia’, ‘Louliya’ and ‘Bel Etranger’, among others, the influence of travel and bringing together cultures for the music in an interesting blend makes their music unique. However, Indian music, classical or mainstream Bollywood, has not yet made to Sherazade and Lavion Rose’s influences, who hope to change this sometime. “Honestly, before coming to India, all I knew about your music was what I heard in Bollywood movies which I loved, such as my favourite film ‘Devdas’,” confessed Sherazade, adding, “But, I hope, in the future, to try some Indian sounds.”

World Music taking centre stage

World Music, a diverse and somewhat indefinable genre, encompasses many things, but traditional music from various cultures with a mix of ‘western’ influence as a fundamental aspect. Across cultures, it is growing in prominence and with Indian musician Sandeep Das bagging a Grammy this year in the World Music category, India’s contribution to the growth of this genre has yet again found itself in the spotlight. With music festivals such as Udaipur World Music Festival taking place earlier this month, the genre is picking up in India.

In an interpretation of a famous quote by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Sherazade expressed her sentiments about music, saying, “Art will save the world – this is something I have believed in since my childhood, and try to achieve it through my passion.” Perhaps as a language that transcends all barriers, music can indeed play a part in bringing together cultures, with World Music aiming at doing just that.

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