With diverse musicians and singers from different parts of the globe, the sixth edition of the IndiEarth Music Xchange, happening in the city, will be a three-day event, wholly dedicated to music. Apart from comprising concerts of Indian and international independent artistes like Apache Indian, Mr. Bill, Dubmatix, Maya Kamaty, Saodaj, Jyotsna Srikanth, Lopa Mudra and more, there are also music workshops and film screenings. Popular artistes Maya Kamaty from the France’s Reunion Islands and Reggae musician Dubmatix from Canada speak about their respective careers and about the fest.
Q How was it growing up in Reunion Islands? When did you discover the music in you?
It’s such a small island with multiple landscapes! I was into music and theatre through my parents, but becoming a musician was unplanned. Often, a lot of actors, musicians and poets used to come to my house — for me, it was all normal.
Q Tell us about maloya (a genre from the Reunion Islands) and your love for percussions.
Maloya and its traditional instruments are like a locomotive, driving you on. The vocal lead is powerful. The percussions, in particular, strengthen every piece.
I am very fond of tablas, Moroccan karkabous and all Indian percussions. Indian musicians have incredible mastery of their instruments with almost
supernatural rhythms and melodies!
Q You have travelled all over the world. Also, your roots are from Rajasthan, India. Do you think it has an influence in your music and do you like it?
Indian music clearly has an influence on my melodies, my choices of instrumentalisation and composition. Now we try to mix other influences — pop, electro, trip hop which I like enormously. The first music I always listen to is Ravi Shankar!
Q How accepting is Chennai, when it comes to newer genres of music?
I have played a few times in Chennai at the Xchange and every time, I receive a warm welcome.
I am from the fifth generation of Indian hires, but I do not speak a word of Tamil or Hindi. My language is Creole and I think that seeing such a diaspora in the world is very interesting.
Q What are your upcoming albums and projects?
I have this new album in preparation. Also, I am a part of a female quartet called the Bringelles. People often say that women do not get along with each other. It’s not the case in our band. We revisit the songs and traditional music of the Indian Ocean and we spend a lot of time together with music and it is very interesting to play with women.
Q How important are cross-cultural festivals for musicians and for the audience?
For musicians and for the public, this kind of festival will open up to the world, to know other ways of doing things, to live, to eat; and it is this diversity that is real.
It is the world in which we live — the peaceful part. It’s crazy to see so much violence even today when we have no reason not to live together. There is music that can keep us all together and bind us.
Q Narrate your childhood experiences with music
My love for music is in my blood. It’s my heartbeat. My father is a musician and I’ve been around music clubs and studios since a very early age. I spent many years in the studios, helping to set up equipments, learning instruments and teaching myself how to record.
Q How did you start involving yourself in Jamaican Reggae music and what is the specialty of the genre?
Bob Marley was always on the turntable and over the years it was a music that I gravitated to — it’s ability to uplift, it’s hypnotic rhythms, use of electronics and overall vibe... everything is amazing.
But, it was King Tubby that altered my musical life forever when I was 16. Upon hearing what could be done both musically and technically to achieve sonic dimensions, led me down a path into dub, reggae, ska plus all variety of musical styles.
Q Tell us about how you got the name Dubmatix... Is there a backstory to it?
It’s a two part name — the ‘Dub’ is a tribute to one of my musical heroes King Tubby and the ‘Matix’ represents a more forward, future-thinking side of the music I create. Combining elements of the foundation of reggae and dub but trying to keep it moving forward.
Q Do you think India has enough exposure to reggae and dub music?
Since this will be the first time that I’m visiting India, I cannot really say. But I do know quite a few people who have travelled to perform in here and I am aware of several radio DJs, soundsystems and musicians. But for me, I think the world needs more exposure to reggae and dub.
Q What can we expect from your performance this time at the Xchange?
When I perform it will be a hybrid of DJing and live mixing — so each show will be different. Musically, it will always be more uptempo and fun music that people can dance to. People go out to dance, have fun and release any stresses from the week — my goal is to help achieve that.
Q There are also films at the ready for screening and workshops about music. what are you looking forward to, the most?
I’m eager to experience as much music, culture and arts, people and life during my short stay here. I’m hoping to take home with me new friends and future musical collaborations!
(At The Park, Chennai,on November 24, 25 and 26)...