After a week in Pondicherry, India, where we performed Orchestra of Samples, we headed to the huge metropolis of Bangalore. With a population of 11 million, the city is regarded as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, with technology companies and many educational and research institutions all based there.
While in India, for our performance of Orchestra of Samples in Pondicherry, we were introduced to the wonderful composer and mandolin master Uppalapu Rajesh, known as U Rajesh. Renowned for his innovative take on Carnatic Indian classical music, Rajesh feels musical techniques come after savouring the music, saying audiences should use their heart to enjoy music first.
Having recorded a number of times in India for Orchestra of Samples and with the project being a UK-French venture, in early April 2022 we were invited to performed the show in India at the French Rendez-Vous Festival in the coastal city of Puducherry, organised by the French Institute of India and international cultural organisation Les Francophonies.
During our Tamil Nadu trip in India, we decided to visit neighbouring Auroville – the experimental township founded in the late 1960s, when back then a roughly 5000 acre site of wasteland was chosen to build a future community on. In February 2018 Auroville celebrated its 50th anniversary and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind called it “a unique symbol of human unity.”
It’s October 2017 and we’re working on an amazing project with blind sitar master Baluji Shrivastav, funded by Unlimited – the arts body who support projects by disabled artists. Baluji also heads the UK’s only blind ensemble of musicians, the Inner Vision Orchestra, some members of which who’ve also taken part in our Orchestra of Samples project, including Baluji himself.