The award-winning guitarist Maneli Jamal, who has wooed audiences around the world with his visual style of playing acoustic guitar, was in Chennai recently.
After his performance at the fifth edition of the Global Isai Music festival, he talks to us about his love for the country, style of music, and more. “This is actually my very first time in India. It’s wonderful to be here in this part of the country. I landed in Chennai yesterday and I should say I am completely bowled over by the hospitality here. I will try the local cuisine and also idli-vada!” starts Jamal.
Originally from Canada, Jamal has lived in five countries and had moved twenty times by the age of 18. He incorporates many musical textures in his performances, while keeping rhythm with his two hands — you’ll swear he has a trio with him if you hear his sound. “I have played songs based on my nomadic journey.
Those songs told the story of getting from one country to the next through the acoustic guitar. Through my music, I wanted to take the audience with me on the journey of music exploration through the eyes of the acoustic guitar,” says Jamal.
Though not too familiar with the Chennai music scene, Jamal considers the music here refreshing and soulful. “It’s inspiring for me to think about my music differently, which is something I am always hungry for. I can’t wait to spend more time here to absorb the culture. Collaborating with other artists was a great experience and I am waiting for more such opportunities,” adds Jamal, who will be in the city for three days.
He hopes to meet more people during his stay. “India is a very inspirational place and I want to learn many things from the people here. Though I have toured many other countries, I didn’t get an opportunity to come here. Now, my dream has come true.”
So, what is the biggest challenge being an acoustic guitarist? “I think the biggest hurdle is that I am a solo acoustic guitarist and it’s just me on stage without a band. Everything relies on me to be 100 per cent focused on stage and trying to make the guitar sound like three instruments sometimes is the interesting part... but that’s the fun part of it all!” sums up Jamal.