‘A song won’t die with its composer’

Friday, 13 January 2017

Mishko M’ba is a French composer, arranger, producer, bass guitarist and pianist. He has performed at numerous French and international platforms since the ’80s, before coming to India. He has been living in Puducherry for the last 12 years. 

A much-in-demand bass player, he has toured the USA, Europe and Asia regularly for many years. Mishko has worked with renowned artists such as Ray Charles, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Raoul de Souza, Khaled, Didier Lockwood. He currently plays with many music groups as Emergence, Mystic Vibes and Lucky Ali. At the Stringly Yours concert, organised by L’Alliance Francaise de Pune, in association with The Poona Music Society and Pune Guitar Society, the bassist will be performing Sankarshan Kini. Excerpts from an interview:

Balance of all genres
Music is one. As we don’t choose the place of birth, we don’t choose the kind of music listened to as a child. I was born in France, so I started by studying Western Classical music. As I grew up, I realised my musical world was a small part of the big world. 

The same way that I started cycling around my city, I started a musical journey, discovering that what I called music was actually much bigger. I first visited rock and pop areas, then funk, jazz and so on. Now I am in Hindustani and Carnatic area. I learnt that it is an endless and amazing journey. Thanks to Internet, nowadays we can travel through an infinite world of music from home.

Jazz music in India
There are more and more young musicians going to jazz music school abroad as well as in India. It’s the same with the audience. Many people come back to India with some jazz interest. However, there are many festivals and places where you listen to jazz. It’s not so far off Indian Classical. They have a lot in common. What is very different in India is the fact that people come to the concert without any partiality. Minds are opened to find out new musical experiences.

Playing with other artists
Music is a language. Playing with another artist give the possibility to exchange ideas. With Shanks in Stringly Yours, we are proposing a journey in the world of guitars. Being a duet, we can travel very fast from East Europe with a kind of Tsigane song to jazz as well as some Carnatic touch. We are proposing a concert filled with, I hope, a lot many different emotions.
The void left after the demise of international music sensations

I am just happy to be able to listen to what they have created and to be inspired by them. A song won’t die with its composer. For instance, I love Chopin’s (Frédéric Chopin) compositions. When I play one of his pieces on the piano, to me, he is alive because his music remains alive. 

Artist exchange
It is difficult for me to consider the world as a sum of countries. All that I see is some human being with different cultures, in any case related to the different borders. That said, India since long time has sent musicians all around the world.
Indian music

Since I am in India, I have been part of different projects involving Indian artists playing Indian instruments. For instance, Arka with Selva Ganesh on the ganjira and Ravichandra Kullur on the flute or the band Mystik Vibes with Muthu Kumar on the tabla and Amith Nadig on  the flute to name a few.  I stay in India because of the music I heard the first time I came. It was like opening a door and suddenly discovering a new universe. I know nothing better than to discover a ‘new’ music as a musician. And here, it is a wonderful world.

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