Left: Classical Finnish guitarist Jukka Tolonen
strikes a pose with Minna Raskinen on the kantele,
while Kamal Sabri (extreme right) completes ethe
group with his sarangi
Have you heard
of Kantele? No? But people out there in Finland too hadn’t
heard of the sarangi. It was only when the young sarangi
maestro Kamal Sabri went to Helsinki and introduced the
Indian musical instrument in Finland in 1996 that the
Finnish got to know about it. Now it is Finnish artist
Minna Raskinen too has come here with plans to introduce
the national instrument of Finland, the Kantele, to Indians.
know what kind of sound Kantele produces until you listen
to it but we can tell you right away that it looks like
a harp. "It has been in Finland for the past 2000 years
but now not many people know about it," informs Minna.
She is one of the most prolific of Kantele performers
in her motherland and has also taken it to several parts
of the world.
In India for
the programme Striking Notes, along with other Finnish
artists, Minna is actively into promoting Kantele in Finland.
"I take programmes in school with the hope that when the
children grow up, at least some of them will pick up playing
the instrument professionally," she says crossing her
being performed at the Kamani Auditorium tonight at 6.30p.m.,
is an evening of musical ensemble from India and Finland.
Along with Minna, there will be Finnish artists like Jukka
Tolonen on guitar and Markku Ounaskari on drums plus the
Indians like Kamal Sabri on sarangi and Ustad Shafaat
A. Khan on tabla. (Striking Notes will travel to Mumbai
and Kolkata hereafter but Pt. Anindo Chatterjee will play
the tabla on rest of the tour).
Kamal Sabri has been the driving
force behind this ensemble. "I've always wanted to bring
Finnish music to India. I'm glad that Minna, Jukka and Markku
agreed to this plan," he gushes. Kamal loves to talk and
he adds, "I was warmly received in Finland when I went there
for the first time in1996 and I hope that the Indian audience
too receive them well." Though he says this with an air
of scepticism, Minna discounts his fears by saying, "People
in India form a better audience for classical music than
in Finalnd, probably because here people are aware of the
nuances of classical music, unlike in Finland where only
popular music rules the roost."
Jukka who had
been silent till now, wishes to speak on this subject. He
agrees with Minna, saying, "There is definitely a big difference
in audience for classical music between Finland and India.
People here respect the classical musicians more than in
my country." Jukka, who is one of the legendary modern musicians
of Finalnd, says, "Americanisation is spoiling the music
scene in Finalnd." At least we have something in common
with Finland both fear the onslaught of American culture!
Before you can
even ask either of them as to what would their music in
the evening would sound, Kamal speaks on behalf of all three,
"It is going to be something different. All of us have composed
some tunes and tried to blend it with melody. You will have
to wait for a while." And Minna promises, "You will
like it because unlike the Western classical music, Indian
and Finnish music have a lot in common." So be it.