The Enchanting age old Sarangi and the young Maestro Kamal Sabri.
Press Clippings     

October, Sunday 14, 2001
Swiss jazz gets gen-next jiving

Jazz is no longer elitist music with complicated grooves. It is becoming more listener-friendly, even as an younger audience is jiving to it. This bit of wisdom comes from a funk jazz band with a tongue twister of a name, Scacciapensieri.

Hailing from the Canton of Aargovie in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, these are a bunch of seven youngsters who got their act together in ’99. Of course, western classical jazz is still very popular among the older crowd, but with experimentation, the genre has absorbed in elements of Blues, Rock, Reggae and even electronica. And consequently, has struck a note with the Britney Spears generation.

In this, Scacciapensieri, which is an Italian phrase meaning “chase away the (bad) thoughts”, has a role to play

Our repertoire is original and we like to experiment with newer sounds,” says drummer Bernhrad Stadker, who at 18, is the youngest of the lot.


This thirst for experimentation has now brought them all the way to the city, courtesy the Swiss EmbassyIn collaboration with sarangi player Kamal Sabri, they are out to present you a series of fusion jazz concerts. “Unlike tabla or sitar, the sarangi has not been exposed to Westerners much. But surprisingly, we find that the jazz notes and sarangi goes very well,” says Sabri.

Indeed, jazz is big back home in the Swiss-side, what with numerous jazz clubs dotting both Geneva and Zurich. But unfortunately, the band says that like in India, it is still difficult to make jazz a commercial success. Reason why they are not to keen on cutting their own album and instead perform live. “Performing live is also fun because you really get carried away by the swing in the music as do the audience,” says saxophone player Mats Rohr, 27, the oldest member of the group.

For a living, they work as school teachers, work on music for theatres, even as Rohr wants to be trained in music therapy.

He explains: “Just as music has notes and vibrations, so does the body, which can be influenced by music. Music also lets you express yourself in case you are not very good in expressing yourself through other ways.” He adds that a lot of research is underway and there is even an Institute of Music Therapy at Zurich. But for the time being, it is all that jazz, even as Guan Capaul blows on the Australian instrument called Didgeridoo (a long tube made of wood or plastic with a coat of bees wax inside it and a bend at the end), with the sarangi strings to vibrate the atmosphere.



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