A French violinist who loves Dhrupad

An unusual Dhrupad fan charms Sindri

By Praduman Choubey in Dhanbad
  • Published 12.01.19, 12:22 AM
  • Updated 12.01.19, 12:38 PM
  • a min read
American-born French violinist Byron Wallis at Sindri in Dhanbad on Friday. (Gautam Dey)

Music knows no borders, so it comes as no surprise that American-born French violinist Byron Wallis loves Hindustani classical music.

Wallis, who was in Sindri on Friday at Officers’ Club for a classical music show hosted by nonprofit Sublime Urge to Rejoice (Sur), charmed the audience with music as much as with his brooding good looks. With him were Sindri-born classical vocalist of growing international fame Debapriya Adhikary, sitarist Samanwaya Sarkar of Calcutta and tabla player Madhurjya Ranjan of Assam, spoke glowingly of Hindustani classical music.

“I love Dhrupad,” Wallis told mediapersons on Friday before his performance. “Like Indian classical music, its counterpart in the West is also facing challenges from fusion or modern music. But we need to preserve the originality of classical music everywhere, as that is its biggest strength,” he added.

Wallis, who arrived in India last month and visited Sindri on Adhikary’s invitation, explained Dhrupad had great potential “to induce peace and calm in listeners”.

A versatile performer himself, equally at home with the classical and the contemporary, Wallis performed a fusion piece in Sindri. But, he added, “Fusion to a certain extent is justified but originality of classical music should not be altered. Every artiste has his own style. That’s the innovation and novelty in classical music. There is no need to bring new things (in classical music) just for the sake of making a difference.”

Originally from Kalispell in Montana and grandson of acclaimed American economist Roland Renne, then president of Montana State College, Wallis educated himself in music in the US before shifting to France. He performs regularly across the globe and has been in India before.

Invited by Adhikary, the founder of Sur, to Sindri, Wallis was all praise for the small town for being “calmer and greener than the metros of India”.

Adhikary, who did his masters from Bengal Music College under the University of Calcutta and has performed in UK, France, Australia and Germany, among others, happens to be the son of FCIL general manager D.D. Adhikary. “I organised this event in Sindri for music lovers,” he said. He said usually he organised purely Indian classical music shows under Sur with Sarkar and Ranjan, but having Wallis was a treat.

He also outlined his plans of bringing artistes from across India and the world to Jharkhand for shows and added he dreamt of starting an academy to promote musical talents.