| Ziv Eitan (right) at a session on the eve of the Swabhumi show. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
The man ' proficient in 50 different percussion instruments. The style ' virtuoso, compelling, sensitive and emotional. The mission ' to connect with the new generation by reviving classical music in the spirit of the 21st century.
For Israeli composer and marimba-percussion-drums soloist extraordinaire Ziv Eitan, making music is all about breaking barriers through his unique repertoire. Considered the only musician who combines classical traditional music with contemporary-electronic-computerised music, video art and lighting, Eitan is in town with his signature show Journey into Rhythm (at Rang Manch, Swabhumi, on Sunday, 7 pm).
Brought together by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in collaboration with the honorary consulate of Israel in Calcutta, the 80-minute 'classical-artistic' concert will also feature Yohanatan Niv on cello, Yohanatan Givoni on percussion and drums and David Sheli on sound. The show will be preceded by a workshop by the Israeli quartet.
'Our music has a lot of emotion and harmonic melody which the man on the street can relate to. It's all about connecting on a plane that's easy to understand,' says the 35-year-old Eitan. His creations are hugely influenced by major composers of the Baroque, classical and romantic periods like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms'
The classical elements are blended with contemporary electronic music like acid jazz, chill-out, ambient and club music ' house, trance, dance, also incorporating world music styles ' jazz, ethnic, Japanese and Latin.
Eitan, who will play Bach's Ciaccona from Partita No. 2 on marimba (a giant xylophone), solo in Sunday's set, is also excited about the piece On the Way to the Mars, which he co-composed with Zach Drori. 'It's a complex number that is sad, crazy, optimistic and romantic at the same time. It's a constant conversation with the elements ' the drums, marimba, frame drums, the computer'
A walk through the bustling 42nd Street in New York had inspired American composer Wayne Segal to write 42nd St Rondo, a piece created for two percussion players on authentic Latin instruments. The Israeli quartet will perform this 'minimalist' creation, besides a Ronen Shapira piece written for marimba, percussion, cello and computer.
Niv, who will do Bach's Suite No. 1 on his cello, like Eitan, is extremely engaged by Indian classical music. They played on stage in Delhi with 'seven Indian musicians of exceptional talent and maturity' and are keen to collaborate with Indian artistes back home in Israel.
'There is a lot of interest in Indian classical music in Israel and many youngsters are travelling to India to study the sitar or the tabla. Once they pick up these instruments, they are much sought-after in the evolving musical scene in Israel,' says Niv, who is keen to add the sarengi to his arsenal.
A graduate of the Music Academy at the Tel Aviv University and the Royal Danish Music Academy in Copenhagen, Eitan feels Israel is a melting pot of cross-cultural elements, which has coloured its music.
'We have Jews from all over the world, Poland, Argentina, Spain, Puerto Rico, Chile' settling down in our country. They have all brought with them their characteristic styles and we are now undertaking a journey to understand our traditional music and language,' he observes.
Big screen for the fast track
If you are reading this before the clock has struck 7.30 am, you might just wish to do a Narain Karthikeyan to INOX (City Centre) and catch India's first Formula One star in debut at the Melbourne Grand Prix. Provided you've got an invite from INOX. Two hundred-odd F1 fans will get to cheer the 28-year-old from Coimbatore as he breezes through the laps at Albert Park alongside the Schumachers and Montoyas.
The Salt Lake multiplex is all decked up with signboards and flags to celebrate Karthikeyan's historic whiz through the 58 laps in the season's first race. 'The 40-ft-wide Harkness screen and the 10,000 watts of thumping Dolby Digital sound will definitely make the race-viewing experience even more pulsating in Auditorium One at City Centre,' said an INOX spokesperson.
'Narain Karthikeyan's presence in the starting line-up has meant that India has someone to cheer for in motorsports. Depending on the response, we might show the other races too at our multiplex,' the spokesperson added.
The prospective blow-up of screen size from the usual 21 inches to the overwhelming 40 ft has already got many an F1 fan geared up for the race.
Said Iftehkar Rehman, an avid F1 follower and a regional finalist in two national-level go-karting races: 'For all those of us who can't be there at the venue, this is as close and as big as we can get. And the whole thrill of shouting for Schumi (Michael Schumacher for those not on the fast track) alongside like-minded fans compared to enjoying it alone at home will be quite incredible. Karthikeyan has already done us proud by getting this far despite financial constraints. While we don't expect him to win, it would be great if he comes in the top 10.'
That's very much possible with the Jordan driver coming ninth in the opening qualifying session on Saturday. He was, in fact, number one for some time after having been the third driver to go out on the track. The sudden downpour in Melbourne meant that even Schumacher in his superfast Ferrari could finish just 18th on the grid, nine places behind Karthikeyan.
What's more, if the two hours of non-stop racing action, preceded and followed by the preview and review of the Melbourne Grand Prix, leaves you a tad tired, INOX has arranged a special Sunday Beer Brunch with loads of beer and refreshments.
Dream Girl's dream run: Hema, still sparkling
The Dream Girl is doing a fine job of her diverse roles as dancer, actress, Rajya Sabha member and mother. 'Esha and Ahana made me very proud when they performed so well at the recent Khajuraho Festival,' beams Hema Malini, who snatches spare time to be with her daughters. 'And I love to gorge on radhaballavis whenever I am here,' she admits, in town for the launch of the book Diva Unveiled. Picture by Pradip Sanyal