Ethnic Fusion Sound
Fusing Ancient and Modern Sounds
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Part Three
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Paula: What is your musical background?

Rikhi: My musical studies and professional experience as a musician, singer and percussionist, have taken me to many parts of the world, bringing me into contact with a rich variety of cultures and musical currents. Here goes a description:

I attended for many years singing courses with Prof. Ariel Mendelson - vocal technique in classical music - and Prof. Graciela Leibovitz - vocal technique and expression in World/Pop music. I also studied classical and ethnic percussion for several years and did research on African and Oriental roots (ethnomusicology), at Escuela Superior de Percusión directed by Prof. Antonio Yepes , and drum set at the Vinci School of Music with Prof. Ernesto Picardi, all of them located in Buenos Aires.

From 1983, I carried out several trips to India. I acquired knowledge on Indian Music - Hindustani Chant of Ragas and light (popular) singing, Tabla and Santoor - with Master Sri Shyam Srivastava, head of the Music department of Sathya Sai schools and universities, in Prasantinilayam, near Bangalore, (a spiritual community located in the South of India). I also studied with Sri Mata Prasad Misra of Benares, Master of Indian music, Tabla and Kathak dance; and with Sri Ramesh Shotham, member of the Karnataka School of Music, for Gatham, Moorsing and Konnakol (south Indian percussion).

I'm now working in USA, as a professional musician and producer. I'm also working as a Teacher of Ethnic Percussion and Vocal training. I'm finishing the translation from Spanish to English, of my first book (that includes CD Rom) called 'Ethnic Fusion Percussion for All', featuring a detailed learning method for several major ethnic percussion instruments, like: Indian Tabla ,Arabian Darbuka, Indian Gatham, African Djembe, Spanish Cajon, Latin bongoes, and some small percussion. I think it will be ready to be released by the beginning of next year.

In 1991/2 I lived in the US, where I worked and studied together with Hindu and American musicians in Manhattan, New York. In addition, I took courses on Jazz Drumset and vocal techniques at Manny Academy of Music, and attended clinics and master classes on Drums and Percussion.

In 1998, I visited Israel and Egypt, to explore more deeply into the roots of their music and culture. I've attended classes of Arabian Darbuka, Bendir and Oud with prof. Munir Mansur in Jerusalem.

From 1995 to 1999 I lived in Madrid, where I worked as a Director for the Ethnic Percussion dept. in Neopercusion Music School. I also recorded with different artists as well as toured around Europe.

Music Studio Productions

I have carried out several productions with different artists, from which can be highlighted the following:

In the USA:

In March '01 I finished the production of a new CD: Ethnic Fusion Sound collection #1 in Manhattan, New York, as a lead Singer and Percussionist, composer and producer, along with Tamir Ben Haim: Guitars, Edgar Fernandez: Bass, Sergio Urquía: Percussion set, Charango, and more guests playing Sitar, Sax, Keyboards.

Ethnic Fusion Sound Music Productions Co. is intended to help musicians who are interested in this alchemy. It is also meant for the publishing of original music scores for Film, Multimedia and Performing Arts, as well as CD releases, like: Esencia Lila (1999), Sailor of Deep Waters (1998), and Oriental Express (1995): all available for those interested in knowing more about this music.

As a recording artist, I've collaborated with several CD releases. Some of them are:

As a Percussionist for the CD Doniana (2000), along with the guitar master & composer Mr. Horacio Lovecchio, for a series of TV documentaries in Spain.

CD of the group Urbethnic (2000), as a percussionist and singer. It is the first album of this band with 6 members, all percussionists, consisting on a fusion of contemporary, ethnic and urban - electronic tendencies.

As a Tabla player for the 2nd album of Brenga Astur(1999), a Celtic Asturian folk group.

As a Tabla player for the album Manteca by Luis Manglis, flamenco fusion (1998); for the album Manoa by Eduardo Laguillo, World Fusion music (1998) playing Tabla, Dholak and Khanjeris (Indian percussion), etc.

Paula: Who or what are your musical influences?

Rikhi: I've been studying and doing research about Ethnic and Modern music for more than 15 years, travelling around the world, learning from Teachers and also from anonymous people; local artists in their towns.

India, Africa, Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, North and South America. There is so much to learn and to share about music and human cultures...

Maybe I should describe my music influences by stages:

I started to play music at 7: Bombo Leguero, an ethnic Argentinian Percussion instrument, but at 13 my uncle made me a present of a Drum set. Then in the late 70's I formed my first Rock and Blues band. After that, Symphonic Rock, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and Reggae music came to my attention.

In the mid 80's I discovered India, and that was a definitely strong and important influence in both my musical and personal life. Nevertheless, I kept my original empathy for Modern styles. Later, I traveled to Brasil and around South America, learning different styles like: Samba, Bossa, Latin American and Andes music. All of this was of great influence.

Then, in the 90's, I started to do more research about Eastern Europe and Middle Eastern music, and I worked playing Arabian, Greek, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Sefardi, Celtic and Spanish Flamenco music, touring with several music and Dance groups, throughout the years in Spain, Argentina and France.

All these are my music treasures, all the experience and knowledge I've received and shared around the world. It has had a deep impact in my life.

And of course, in the last 5 years, Digital music, Samplers and drum machines have also had their place in my music productions, as a complimentary sound.

Nowadays, I'm trying to combine all with great care on my compositions, in an attempt to alchemize Modern and Ancient ethnic music styles into something, I think, at least a bit different from the music we're listening to everyday. Neither better nor worse, just different...

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