The Queens Hold Court!

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The 11th Edition of in[Chorus] brought together Indian and Turkish musical traditions in the form of Queens of Melody – a unique musical encounter between Éléonore Fourniau (French vocalist and hurdy-gurdy player) and Nandini Shankar (Classical Indian violinist). Accompanied on the tabla by Abhishek Mishra, the dynamic duo married their exquisite styles with poignant sensitivity. After an initial residency in Delhi (April 15-17), their concerts were received with standing ovations in Delhi (April 17), Hyderabad (April 21), Chennai (April 23), Pune (April 25), and Ahmedabad (April 26). Like the previous editions of in[Chorus], these performances were jointly piloted by Alliance Française de Delhi and Kalasetu.

'Queens of Melody' performing in Madras | Photo Credits - Nivedan Mangalesh

‘Queens of Melody’ performing in Madras | Photo Credits – Nivedan Mangalesh

After spending her adolescence in Ouzbekistan, Éléonore left her native France for Turkey to learn Turkish and Kurdish musical styles and chants. She imbibed the intricacies of saz in the conservatory of Istanbul and in the school of Erdal Erzincan. With her trusted hurdy-gurdy by her side, her impeccable technique, and her crystalline voice, Éléonore travels the world as a renowned interpreter of the Kurdish repertoire – both as a soloist and as a part of different ensembles.

Éléonore Fourniau

Éléonore Fourniau

Nandini learnt music at an early age under the tutelage of her mother, the violin maestro Dr. Sangeeta Shankar, and her grandmother, Padmabhushan Dr. N. Rajam. She is particularly known for interpreting the ragas of Hindustani music in the gayaki ang technique invented by her grandmother wherein vocal elements are reproduced on musical instruments. She has been the recipient of the Cultural Scholarship awarded by the Ministry of Culture and has also received the Jashn-e-Youngistan award from the Vice-President of India in 2018.

Nandini Shankar

Nandini Shankar

Much like Nandini, Abhishek was also born in a family of musicians. He is a particularly gifted tabla player from the Benaras style who trained under his father Pt. Birendra Nath Mishra, his grandfather Pt. Surendra Mohan Mishra, and eventually Pt. Pooran Maharaj and Pt. Kumar Bose. Abhishek is currently an A grade artist for All India Radio and Doordarshan. He also regularly accompanies senior Hindustani artists in celebrated music festivals.

Abhishek Mishra

Abhishek Mishra

Queens of Melody is much more than a musical collaboration – Nandini highlighted the fact that much like a raga in Indian music, there is makam in Turkish music. Thus, the concerts became a journey of sorts for the three musicians as they explored the commonalities between their cultures. Another surprising uniting factor was the hurdy-gurdy itself. The instrument has a wheel which needs to be crank-turned to rub against the strings, similar to the function of a violin bow. Abhishek stated that rhythm is fairly universal and it did not take much time for the trio to create combinations of instrumental melody, songs, and rhythmic patterns. The refined treatment of microtones and the delicate musical ornamentations enabled the musicians to create an immersive musical experiences which stands as a beautiful testament to the soundscapes of Indian and Turkish music!

Siddharth Bhatt

Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal

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Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...