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UK folk band Kan Perform In Bengaluru And Kolkata This Week

The band played from their album Sleeper to a packed audience in Mumbai will wrap up their India tour this week

Rolling Stone India Oct 30, 2013
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Kan

Kan

Last week, when Scottish folk band Kan took to stage at the Lands End Amphitheatre in Mumbai, the audience was introduced to more than just their music. They got to know that drummer Jim Goodwin backpacked across India during his first trip to the country many years ago, that Irish flautist Brian Finnegan wrote a moving composition for his grandmother; fiddle player Aidan O’Rourke (who studied to be a civil engineer) channels his love for physics in his music and found out that guitarist Ian Stephenson definitely has an alternate career in stand-up comedy.

For two hours, Kan entertained the crowd that had gathered at the open air venue with flawless musicianship and easy banter. When O’Rourke struggled with his sound set up, the rest of his band mates worked the crowd with anecdotes and self-deprecatory jokes, winning themselves new fans in the city. After the show, we learnt that the band had arrived in the country on the day of their Mumbai show. When we spoke to O’Rourke ahead of the show he said, “We’ll mostly be playing from our debut album Sleeper. Our music is more rhythm-based, which makes you want to dance, so we’ll play it by ear and see how the crowd reacts.” Unsurprisingly, some members of the audience stepped up to the front of the stage to dance to tracks such as “Marcos” with searing flute and fiddle parts.

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The set also included slow-burners such as “Last Of The Starrs,” (the one Finnegan wrote in memory of his grandmother) which affirmed what O’Rourke had said about Kan’s music having a powerful emotional quality. “I think the kind of folk that we play, which is influenced by Scottish and Irish tunes, connects on a basic human level,” said O’Rourke, when asked how Kan managed to appeal to newer audiences across the world with their mix of traditional and contemporary folk.

The emotional content and strong melody lines found in Irish and Scottish music have parallels in the traditional Carnatic music form of South India, said O’Rourke. He added, “A lot of folk musicians in Scotland these days use the traditional melody as only the basis of a piece of music and build an arrangement around that but improvise, much like Indian music and jazz.” Of course, both O’Rourke and Finnegan are familiar with Indian music. While Finnegan has mentioned in previous interviews that he is a fan of the renowned flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, O’Rourke has collaborated with violinists Ganesh and Kumaresh. Said O’Rourke, “I was introduced to their [Ganesh-Kumaresh] music by Scottish jazz musicians Phil and Tom Bancroft who they have collaborated with. I’d love to work with them. I actually did a live Skype improvisation with them during a concert  a couple of years ago. I was in Edinburgh and they were somewhere in India. It was exciting.”

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If the Mumbai show was anything to go by, we can tell you for sure that Kan will deliver yet another standout performance tonight in Bengaluru.

Kan will perform as part of Folk Nations at

Windmill Craftworks in Bengaluru on October 30th at 9 pm. Entry: Rs 500

Calcutta School of Music on November 1st at 6.30 pm. Entry: Free

Kan will also conduct a workshop at the Calcutta School of Music on November 1st. 

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