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World music showcased at local festival

— Indian Ocean plays a mélange of familiar classical, western and Indian folk music that creates its own genre.
The band plays Saturday at Globalquerque in Mayor Plaza at 10:20 p.m. The band consists of guitarist Susmit Sen, percussion player Asheem Chakravarty, bassist Rahul Ram and drummer Amit Kilam. All band members are born and raised in India.
“In India, each of the districts has their own extremely diverse, rich folk music with their own dialects,” Kilam said. “We all grew up with it, so it was only natural that we would incorporate it into our music.”
The band started in 1990, but Sen and Chakravarty knew each other years before. Kilam said the band used to practice at Sen’s home, and it was his father who suggested the band be called Indian Ocean. The name sounded so appealing that it stuck.
Since then, the band’s had great success, going so far as creating the soundtrack for “Black Friday,” a film about the 1993 bombings in Mumbai, India.
“What I liked about this project was the freedom to write and sing what we wanted and not so much what the director or producer wanted,” Kilam said. “We enjoyed this experience because we were able to explore new boundaries for a change.”

~ Tomás Morález

— The nyckelharpa is a cross between a fiddle and a keyboard.
You can see Olov Johansson play the Swedish instrument with his band, Väsen, at Globalquerque on Friday at 7:40 p.m. in the Albuquerque Journal Theater.
Johansson said his uncle introduced him to the nyckelharpa and he’s been hooked on it ever since.
“It’s held on a strap around your neck and is played with a short bow,” he said in an e-mail. “There is a row of keys for each melody string … (and) sympathetic strings, 12 of them, that ring along with the notes I play with the bow and creates a ‘spacey sound’ — a transparent bowed tone with a natural reverb to it.”
Johansson said he and his bandmates are childhood friends.
“Mikael Marin and I had been visiting and learned from Curt and Ivar Tallroth, two of the old leading fiddlers in the area, so we had the same style from the start,” Johansson said. “Väsen started you could say in 1989 when Roger and I were up in Röros in Norway in a winter market that attracts a lot of traditional musicians to come and jam and dance. There we tried to play nyckelharpa and a 12-stringed guitar for the first time and the improvised jam almost turned into a concert.”

~ Hunter Riley

— Mamek Khadem, an Iranian singer, hopes to spread culture with her fusion-based music.
“I do want my music to reflect my desire to reach out to other cultures and other countries and trying to find the similarities in terms of our music and culture,” Khadem said.
Khadem, formerly the lead singer of Axiom of Choice, will perform Saturday at the Albuquerque Journal Theater starting at 7:40 p.m. 
The songwriter said her music is rooted in her Iranian heritage.
“My approach to my music is not 100 percent traditional,” she said. “I use my training in classical Iranian vocals, but I use my own understanding of music. I sort of have a fusion version of the Persian music.”
Khadem said she plans to introduce some cross-cultural pieces, such as Armenian and Turkish tunes.
In addition to vocals, Khadem also plays the daf, a large drum with small cymbals around its edge.
Three other musicians will play percussion and electric guitar and do backup vocals to accompany Khadem at the Globalquerque performance.
“I really think for me it’s more inspiring to do a live performance,” she said. “Each night we do it, it could be completely different from the last night. It’s never going to be repeated in the same way.”

~ Chris Quintana

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