I guess you can sum it up as a musical perspective of India through Brazil.

On Thursday May 31st Small World Music will present Bombay Brazil. The show will join  together some of the most active and accomplished musicians in Toronto’s Brazilian and South Asian music scene. After literally almost running into into Alan Davis from Small World, he mentioned that the Uma Nota crew should take a look at the project. Intrigued by the concept, we decided to get on board.

The word “fusion” is a mixed bag. But this project, “the brainchild of Samba maestro Alan Hetherington,” is a perspective from someone who has devoted his life to Brazilian music, and who has also had unique musical exposure to Indian music influences. I reached out some to Alan Heatherington and he answered some questions for me.

What inspired you to create this project?

Alan Davis approached me, with the idea of asking me to do something a little different for his Asian Music Series. Having had some experience with Indian music, playing in Tasa, and the interest I have playing with Brazilian music and musicians, I proposed a project with some of my favourite musicians and friends from both of these genres, and he went for it.

What makes this “fusion” different for all the others?

The idea is largely influenced by and based upon a format I learned many years ago playing for John Wyre (from Nexus) in his ensemble World Drums, where he created a group of percussionists and other musicians, from around the world – usually for World Expos – to perform in different cities together. We did about 5 or 6 of these concerts over some years and they were the best music education I’ve ever had! John was a Zen master at bringing talents and strengths together, linking them with simple ideas or themes, and with minimum rehearsal. I’ve tried my best to emulate his philosophy here with this group, utilizing two focal cultures, rather than the many John used. 

 Are you focusing more on Brazilian music and adding Indian instrumentation, or are there Indian derived tunes as well?

The link between the two cultures here in this show is ‘diversity of rhythm’, both in meter and phrasing (feel). Some people who study Brazilian popular or folkloric music often don’t realize there is a whole other world of Brazilian music in unusual meters out there. Indian classical music is the same, using very beautiful and ornate rhythmic shapes. I find there is a great affinity between the rhythmic feel of Africa, India and South America (which is essentially African in nature). Playing in John’s group taught me just how compatible the complexity and subtlety of Indian and Brazilian rhythm is together. This concert will also be very Canadian, in its spirit of compatibility and (hopefully) rule bending without offending (haha!). There will be some traditional and contemporary tunes from both cultures, and some interesting surprises. We’re very excited about the possibilities!

Thanks Alan! The show is this Thursday  at Lula Lounge, details here.