Monday, 30th October 2017

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Handmade beats from African shores

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By ARKA DAS
  • Published 19.07.10
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Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng dazzled with their on-field skills in South Africa.

In a fitting tribute to Ghana’s sparkle at the just-concluded World Cup, Sasha lifestyle store — a Fair Trade organisation — on Mirza Ghalib Street is holding an exhibition-cum-sale of traditional Ghanaian percussion instruments and handicrafts.

Out of Africa, on till August 7, is any percussionist’s delight, with its spread of handmade goodies — including nine types of shakers/rattlers like the axatse, shekere and caxixi and kpanlogo drums and even a talking drum.

Ghanaian traditional masks, baskets and jewellery were also on display. The show was inaugurated on Thursday evening with a drum circle conducted by Monojit Datta, the percussionist and founder of Orient Express. Datta was joined by a few of his students for a heartfelt drum jam. Supersonics drummer Avinash Chordia and Hip Pocket drummer and t2 columnist Nondon Bagchi were also in the house, along with Saturday Night Blues Band founder-guitarist Jayanta Dasgupta and his wife, singer Arunima Banerjee.

Avinash couldn’t resist picking up a couple of caxixis and Arunima scooped up the same, along with a few other trinkets on show. “I will have to learn how to play these though: it certainly isn’t easy,” smiled Arunima.

“It’s not everyday that you get to see, let alone play, finely crafted handmade instruments from African countries. It is a brilliant gesture from Sasha to showcase these instruments and handicrafts. I feel fortunate to be able to pick up such quality instruments right in the heart of central Calcutta,” smiled Monojit.

“Being a Fair Trade organisation, we believe in the flow of trade from different parts of the world that actually go on to help the craftsmen. While this has been happening on a north-to-south basis for a while now, over the past year, we have been trying to promote south-to-south trade. Thus, Africa comes into the picture. We have been trying to make this happen since July 2009, and here we are today, celebrating Ghana’s rich culture,” said Sasha director Roopa Mehta.

“We were offered a proposal from Ghana’s Fair Trade body, called Getrade. We readily agreed. We will also feature crafts and instruments from Kenya and Tanzania,” said Chitra Sarkar, Sasha merchandiser. Musicians or not, those displays would be worth attending.