Un ukulélé à la conquête de l’Inde

mardi 8 mars 2011

Lorsque nous avons créé VSAlélé, nous ne pensions pas donner un jour des cours en anglais à un Indien, ni jouer de la musique "Bollywood". C’est pourtant ce qui s’est passé grâce à l’arrivée de Subbu parmi nos membres.

Subbu a gentillement accepté de rédiger un article sur sa découverte du ukulélé au sein de notre association et de partager quelques chansons :

Ajeeb Dastan
PDF - 105.1 ko
Ajeeb Dastan
GIF - 1.3 ko
GIF - 1.3 ko
Aane Waala Pal
PDF - 5.1 ko
Aane Waala Pal
GIF - 1.3 ko

Un grand merci à Subbu pour cet échange musical.


PS : Subbu me signale un article intéressant pour ceux qui voudraient mieux comprendre les spécificités de la musique indienne.

JPEG - 208.6 ko Subbu, Subbudu, or just a Du.... thats what my friends call me.... :) I am Subbaraman, from the land of elephants, Snake Gods and Maharajas.... Yes, I belong to the sub-continent, India... In India, I come from a small but extremely beautiful state called Kerala... With so much of greenery and natural beauty, my state is called as God’s own country. I work in the famous Bangalore, (now called as Bengaluru) in an IT giant (obvious for any average Indian boy).

So, my first project in my company was the maintenance of Billing system of a company based in France... I was sent on an Onsite Support mission to Nice !

Now when I landed this time, I realised, it is going to be a long term stay for around 6 to 7 months of duration in Sophia Antipolis... Now to keep myself out of arts, dance and music in a country with so much of art history was difficult... So to start with, I joined a hiphop dance class... But now, that was just a day per week.... I started drawing in the evenings... But still I had a lot of time for myself out of my work ! That’s when I hear my colleague and a dear friend, Valerie, talking about her music classes, about an instrument called klekle or something ! I was curious, what was it all about...She was like, why don’t you come and try, you might actually like it, it is like guitar, but quite easier.... Hmmm ! Guitar, I have tried learning guitar some 2-3 years back, but sorry, wasnt able to keep my interest on it even for a week... may be I was too weak at it :P But, why not give it a try, I thought....

So there I was, attending the first session of Ukulele (oh yes, Valerie explained to me the spelling !) I thought, there would be a master teaching about the notes and how to play and the theory behind the instrument, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the people who teach the instrument practised along with the students... It was like a gathering of a set of friends, but sad, friends who talked in an alien language... But music has no language old men say, and I realised it is so true ! The first song I practised was Le Lion Est Mort ! (The Lion Is Dead - strange for a song I thought) but, yeah the song I have heard in the famous TV series Friends, (lingalakka lingalakka song), it was easy, with just C, F and G7... And Dirk, from our office was kind enough to lend his travel Uke for practice... (how I got that Uke broken is another story which I shall tell another time:P)

That was just the beginning !... Every evening of mine was occupied with practising Uke at home listening to songs based on Uke and explaining in vain about the instrument to my room-mate and keeping him bored ! :) The speciality about this cute and sweet instrument is that, it keeps you happy, you forget your worries, you are suddenly elated to a Euphoric state of mind ! The rhythm is easy to catch, the pattern is free flowing and your hands automatically search for the correct string without a need of prompting ! I was so proud of myself, for trying to learn something new, an instrument most of the people in our country wouldnt even have heard of ! I was having dreams of playing in my office music band along with many guitars, my cute Uke :)

The liking towards the instrument to a great extent has come from the fact that, the atmosphere from where I learnt and practiced the instrument was Warm... That is the right word ! Warm... The people who played along with me was always helpful, taking turns in helping me by speaking sweetly in English after a huge lecture in French...The warmth was indeed because of the wonderful people who played along with me ! There was no point of not liking to do what I was doing ! I joined in the VSA-lele association by signing in the form and giving the token amount to Mr.Thierry, our president :) So the discovery of Ukulele thus started ! I realised that the music we have in India and what we have here is rightly East and West ! The music in India is based on raagas, which are tunes developed based on different permutations and combinations of the basic 7 notes (called as Sapta Swara in India) and with each Raaga getting a unique name and all songs normally come under one or the other raaga. But the western music doesn’t have the concept of raaga, but the notes are used in an independant way without much restriction. There is a vast scope of improvisation and inventions. Yes, that is east and this is west !

So I wanted to see if our Indian movie songs could be played in Ukulele, and oh man ! I realised, they sound precious with the addition of Uke ! I selected a couple of songs and practiced everyday the songs in Uke ! (the plan was to give a performance in Uke during my marriage :D) And as days passed, learnt new songs in French, English, even Japanese and of course Hindi songs too !! And when I went to India for my marriage, I did play the instrument and received huge applause from my dear family and friends for the same :) When I think about the fact that I wouldn’t be staying here in this country for long and eventually would have to go back to India post my mission completion, I do have that lump in throat thinking about how I will miss the classes, how I will miss practising for French songs (English songs, we can get to play in India, but French songs !! sigh !) But no, that wouldnt be a point to dampen my spirits... I would continue to enjoy the classes till I am here and wouldnt want to stop my experiment and discovery with this small but beautiful (like my state I said :) ) and warm and happy instrument....

So when I pen off my small (ok, not so small) write up, I have a yearning to write again, to talk more about my discoveries, experiences, experiments with this small wonder again and again... So till I speak again, chao chao :)

Une critique, une suggestion, des encouragements : infos a-commercial vsalele point org