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CULTURAL


FUSION IN SONG Two-time JUNO-award-winning artist Kiran Ahluwalia’s music must be felt and heard to be understood.


Her blend of classical Indian, Pakistani, Tuareg desert blues, and jazz music is a hypnotic and entrancing experience, which gradually weaved itself into a trance-like circle in my heart. I don’t quite understand the alchemical relationship that Ahluwalia sets up when she composes her songs, but the way that she blends traditions while maintaining a distinctive treatment of tone and voice, as well as a clear sense of personality indicate that she is extraordinarily capable of fusing diverse materials into a unified project.


Born in India, both Ahluwalia’s parents were hobby-musicians who introduced her to a wide range of music and began her tutelage in Indian classical music at a young age. When her family moved to Canada, her training continued alongside her school studies.


Later, this musical training would be the catalyst for a dramatic decision; Ahluwalia left a lucrative career in finance to pursue an immersive musical training in India for a decade. “I went to India to become a better singer and a composer. This type of education wasn’t available in North America.”


She explains that “I knew that I never wanted to be an Indian classical musician on stage, but Indian classical music is 98% improvisation, so that is the route to learn to become a better composer and singer.” In India,


Kiran Alhuwalia


Ahluwalia underwent rigorous, self-guided study with her mentors, but she knew that she was bound to a different course.


In collaboration with her partner, Rez Abbasi, Ahluwalia began a passionate exploration of Tuareg desert blues, a form of music that has emerged from the nomadic Berber peoples who live in the Saharan desert between Mali, Niger and Algeria.


Abbasi is a noted electric guitar player whose versatility helped Ahluwalia to blend desert blues into her already distinctive sounding repertoire. Ahluwalia states, “I remember falling in love with the desert blues and wanting to incorporate that into my music, then because [Abbasi] is such a great electric guitar player, it was very easy for me to first, have a desire, and then execute it, because he was right there.”


After divining her connection with the music as “maybe I was a Tuareg in my other life,” she went on to explain that desert blues “was very joyous, even though most of the lyrics are about fighting the revolution.” For Ahluwalia, desert blues is simply “compelling. It’s not fast music, it’s rather mid-tempo, it’s got a steady trance-y groove that keeps on going and it touches something inside you that kinda calms you down and creates joy.”


Kiran Ahluwalia’s music is a joy- filled escape. Her music transports us to a space where geographies, traditions and worlds blend and fuse before our eyes and ears. Her music is able to do these things “because there are things inside us that we can’t articulate in words that can be released with a beautiful pattern of notes or an interesting rhythm.”


In her words, then, music “just helps us accentuate and release the melancholy or delve deeper into the joy.”


- Jon Eben Field JonEbenField.com


Kiran Ahluwalia Cairns Recital Hall MEMBERS: $29.75 REGULAR: $35 COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY: $25 HIGH SCHOOL: $5


7:30PM Wed 27 Apr SAVE T DATE! HE JULY 29-31.2016


niagarajazzfestival.com Free & ticketed events


1-844-LIV-JAZZ (1-844-548-5299)


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