Pushkar (Rajasthan), Nov 24 (IANS) French clarinet player Yom, who is part of the Sino-French duo Yom & Wang Li, holds traditional Indian classical music in high regard and is enamoured with its the technicality and spiritual essence.
“Indian music is so huge and so incredibly precise. So I would really like to have the time and conditions and the place to collaborate with an Indian musician. But it needs time and a human connection.
“Otherwise, I will just feel that I took a beautiful music and I put it down,” Yom, who is here to perform at the Shree Cement The Sacred festival, told IANS.
Yom & Wang Li performed at the sand dunes here on Monday.
“With Wang, I have played in strange places… Like we have done concerts in churches in France. But to be in the spiritual nature and a sacred city like this in the desert, that’s something new and special. The place is really strong. You have to be on your best to be able to deliver something good,” Yom said.
The French musician, who plays the bass clarinet along with Chinese Jew harp player Wang Li, reflected upon the basic requirements for collaborating with artists from different traditions, specifically Indian classical music.
“Indian music is technically incredible and its spirit is high. It inspires me so much that I would really need some time for such a collaboration to take place,” Yom said.
He mentioned some of his favourite artists from India, which includes revered names such as Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, violinist L. Subramaniam and sarod legend Ali Akbar Khan.
Yom, who started playing the clarinet at the age of 5, has devoted his entire life to the instrument. He is also a trained classical musician.
So, how did he come to form a project with a Chinese Jewish harp player in Paris?
“We met in France as Wang Li is living in France more over a decade now. I heard him in a theatre in Paris, because I was playing there. Jewish harp in France is not known at all. So it was an exotic performance,” Yom said.
“I was seduced by his playing, the poetry and this elevation of the mind in playing the music. At the end, I went to him and we can try something together. He said, ‘You play Jewish music, what will we do?’ But then we met and it was very interesting,” he added.
However, Yom revealed that it wasn’t easy bringing the act together.
“It took a lot of time to bring this act together. I went to classical school, the observatory and I know how to read the Occidental music. And it was different with Wang, so even to communicate about music, it had to be about poetry, speaking together, working together.”
“We had to invent a language to have communication and it took a long time for us to have full one-hour concerts,” he said.
The duo has released one album called “Green Apocalypse” and will devote more time on concerts before recording their next album.
“What we are doing together is not to mix two traditions for the heck of it. We took the time to mix them carefully, we really try to take a step forward and do something that is neither Jewish nor Chinese,” he said.
“It’s interesting not just from the musical view, but also on spiritual and humane levels. You need to keep your ego away while collaborating with another artist,” he added.
(The writer is in Pushkar at the invitation of the organiser. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)