The Vocal Violinist: learning through teaching
This transmission will be explored both by personal studies with Indian master-tutors, and in the role of transmitter of my acquired knowledge to ensemble colleagues and NAM students.
Born and raised in Norway by Indian parents, I will necessarily approach this subject from a bicultural, bi-musical angle. The focus on vocal teaching reflects the way I was taught the ragas as a child: learning by singing, with my father ustad Harbhajan Singh Bansal as my guru. I will follow this line of approach in this project, which will be a return to my musical roots both in style and method by seeking out the advice and guidance of two prominent Indian vocalists. In particular, I intend to focus on the improvisational form alap, emphasizing its vocal origin, and use it as a framework in exploring the traditional vocal/instrumental approach Gayaki ang – lit. “song-way” – the art of transmitting vocal techniques into instrumental performance.
A deeper understanding of this Eastern/Western duality will be a major asset in my current career as a performing soloist and chamber musician of self-composed material (composing is an integrated part of Indian musicianship). It will also make me better qualified to pass on the North Indian classical music tradition in a European setting.
The project also intends to contribute to an enhanced consciousness of the relations between the instrument and the body through song. I imagine this might be especially useful for Western classical instrumentalists, as Western art music over the centuries has increasingly removed itself from the sing-able, while North Indian classical instrumental music maintains close relations to song. The use of song might prove helpful in the development of a more organic, body-conscious, breathing-conscious and ultimately energy-saving style of playing.
The outcome will be one solo CD and a CD with my ensemble Bansal Band, as documents of the dual pupil-teacher approach. This will be accompanied by an e-publication with documentation and background of the process, and reflections on its duality of roles and cultures.