Fusing Ancient and Modern Sounds
Fusion is a common term in World Music, and can mean a variety of things, but usually boils down to styles and instruments from different cultures being mixed together to form something unique.
Rikhi Hambra is a musician who has made the fusion of ethnic sounds his motivation and inspiration. His project, Ethnic Fusion Sound,
combines the sounds of ancient and modern musical instrumentations. A multi-instrumentalist himself, Hambra has worked with numerous musicians and genres such as Arabic, Flamenco, and Latin.
Rikhi is very descriptive about his music and career, so here is what he has to say about his work.
Paula: How and when did Ethnic Fusion Sound come together?
Rikhi: I'd like to introduce myself to the people first.
My name is Rikhi Hambra, I'm a pro musician: Singer/Percussionist/Composer and Producer, with more than 10 years on the road. I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but I've been living and working in Spain for many years, and I am now settled in the USA.
Regarding your question, the fact is that I've been studying and making research on Ethnic and
Modern music since my first trip to India in 1983. Here, the idea of Ethnic Fusion Sound: an
alchemy of Modern and Ancient ethnic music styles, first came to my mind, and has been developed
In 1987, I started to work as a Singer and Percussionist on a pro level.
I worked with several artists and groups during many years. In 1997, after a two year
collaboration with a group of 4 percussionists, called Livrepercussion (we played a fusion
of ethnic rhythms and instruments from all over the World),I realized that it was time to go
my own way with the songs and instrumental pieces I'd been composing throughout the years, and
put them together.
I started to compose more new material, combining songs with lyrics in English, Spanish and
Indian music Chant notation, plus elements of several Ethnic music cultures and instruments,
Modern music tendencies and Digital sounds.
My skills as a musician are:
Lead/Background singer: singing Hindustani Chant, Vocal Percussion, and composing songs with
lyrics in English, Spanish, and Hindustani notation (this is a common form in Indian music
composition; it has 7 melodic scale notes named: Sa - Re - Ga - Ma - Pa - Dha and Ni, that
correspond to Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, and Si of the Western notation system.
As a Percussionist: Percussion set featuring Indian Tabla and Ghatam, Arabian Derbuka and
Bendir, African Djembe, Spanish Cajon, Latin Bongos + small percussion, Frame drums,
Drum set, etc.
So, after a long and hard period of learning and managing all these intrincated techniques, I
began to alchemize these sounds (but not all at the same time!) with Modern instruments and
Pop/World melodies, chords and Digital programming.
Then, I was able to record and release all of this work with a new style denomination: 'Fusion
Etnica' in Spanish, or 'Ethnic Fusion'.
I released my first CD in 1999 called 'Esencia Lila'; it has 11 vocal and instrumental pieces,
a total of 1 hour of music, all with own written material.
I had 5 guest musicians on Guitars, Violin, Keyboards, Bass, and Sax.
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