Suhail Yusuf Khan and Welsh Harpist Georgia Ruth Collaborate At Kala Ghoda Festival
Ruth recently performed with Khan and Bengali folk singer Saurav Moni at Celtic Connections in Scotland last month
It’s hard to imagine a full-throated Bhatiali song, sung by the boatmen of East India, in tune with a Welsh harp melody, but 24-year-old singer and harpist Georgia Ruth from Wales recalls that she felt completely at home when she heard Bengali folk performer Saurav Moni sing. This was during her second trip to India in 2013 when she was invited to be a part of British Council’s Folk Nations artist residency. Says Ruth, “The boat and river songs sounded so Welsh. They sounded like home. I spent a lot of time getting emotional in India during that week.”
Ruth will channel that feeling of kinship again when she performs with Delhi-based sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival this evening. She says, “Suhail’s sarangi playing was quite a moving experience and lent itself so well to Welsh melodies. He came back to Wales last year to record at the same studio where I recorded my album, so that was a lovely coincidence.” Ruth is keen that Khan be a part of her second album. “India will very much be a part of the second album in some form,” she adds.
The first time Ruth traveled to India was in late 2012 to collaborate with Mumbai-based ghazal singer Tauseef Akhtar. “I fell in love with India right then,” says Ruth, “This second time was also a week of discoveries. I didn’t know what Baul music was until then. Some of the songs by Lalla (Sufi poet seer) have been stuck in my mind.” When Moni, Khan and Ruth got together again at this year’s edition of Celtic Connections, the annual international folk festival held in Glasgow, their performance was filled with nostalgic memories of the residency. Says the harpist, “We hadn’t heard any of the melodies we worked on together for almost a year and it all came back to us during rehearsals.”
As Ruth performs a 45-minute set at KGAF she hopes that the audience will appreciate her connection with Indian music as much as she does. “What amazed me most about our collaboration is that the similarities are much greater than the differences.”
Georgia Ruth will perform with Welsh folk/country band Cowboi Rhos Botwnnog and sarangi player Suhail Yusuf KhanÂ at KGAF, Cross Maidan on February 7th at 9.10 pm. Entry: Free
Ruth and Cowboi Rhos Botwnnog will also perform at Windmills Craftworks, Whitefield, Bengaluru on February 8th at 9.00 pm. Entry: Rs 500 (standing), Rs 750 (table)