India 2005

"RAGA FUSION" PROJECT

The project genesis
Recipient of the "Villa Medicis Hors les Murs" award (AFAA) in 2005, drummer and percussionist Ahmad Compaoré spent 4 months in Pondicherry (India) to learn the art of tabla with master tablist Sree Debasish Dass. The RAGA FUSION project was born of the will of these two percussionists to bring together their knowledge and personal experiences. On one hand, the Marseilles-based drummer is involved in various fusion music bands and wishes to develop cultural exchanges with India where percussion instruments take a prominent place and where music originates from spiritualy. On the other hand, Debasish Dass is a true master in Indian classical music who is willing to integrate other styles and external influences to reach an improvement of the ragas. The RAGA FUSION project was born of this shared will to blend genres and of the desire to go even further.

Musical tradition
Indian classical music has a history spanning thousands of years and it remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as a source of spiritual inspiration and cultural expression. It is based on the raga theory (melodic mode made of five or more musical notes, associated with different times of the day or with seasons). The characteristics of these musical forms, such as tonal intervals, harmony and rhythmic frames, are the result of a tradition enriched with external influences. They are also quite different from what we know in the West. This difference is what attracted Ahmad Compaoré, coupled with the desire to discover new musical horizons under the guidance of a tabla master, born of a long line of traditional musicians. Indian classical music originating from the Divine, the spiritual inspiration is inseparable from Hindu religion: the god Brahmâ created the universe through sound. In India, music has always had a dual purpose: one devoted to temples and gods, the other intended for entertainement and demons. For the main part, it refers to legends and Nature's seasonal cycles. Indian divinities are great musicians: Shiva playing the damaru drum, Krishna playing the flute, Sarasvatî associated to the vînâ, etc. Ahmad Compaoré's learning with a master, himself formed by one of the greatest gurus of last century, Pandit Jnan Prakash, will allow his insight into Indian culture, which would remain incomplete without the grasping of this spiritual dimension.

Description
• Tabla learning: appropriation of various techniques to create one’s own style under the guidance of a master
• Research on the various modes of musical writing, dynamics, tones, timbres, etc.
• Elaboration of an original repertoire, based on creativeness development techniques
• Project of musical awakening workshops in Pondicherry schools, based on percussions, in partnership with the Alliance Française

Calendar
Residency of creation in Pondicherry from February to June 2005.