An artist and a gentlemanSep 03, 2011, 07:48 IST
Fancy an Irish Polka? Catch an evening with Folk singer Niamh Ni Charra tonight in MumbaiWriddhaayan BhattacharyyaMar 17, 2017, 15:16 IST
Niamh Ní Charra explores world music through international festivals with her fiddle and concertina
James Joyce, the Irish novelist, is noted for his contribution to literature; but not many people know of Joyce, the singer. In fact, he inspired many artistes. Irish fiddler, concertina player and singer Niamh Ní Charra is one of them. “Joyce supported his life as a writer by singing. He had an accomplished tenor and his knowledge of music is evident in his literary work. We were both influenced by the same traditional music,” says Charra, who will make her India debut with a concert, on the occasion of St Patrick's Day (the death anniversary of the patron saint of Ireland), tonight.
India is like a wonderland for Charra. She believes the nation has similarities with Ireland. “I have been fascinated by India and its rich tapestry of music and languages. We have plenty in common, in terms of our history (Colonial rule and Partition),” she says.
Charra's familiarity with India began by sharing the stage with Indian Folk musicians at international festivals celebrating World Music. “These festivals are great for hearing other bands and sometimes, jamming with them. But the schedule is so hectic that we hardly have time to know each other's names,” adds Charra, who grew up listening to tapes of Pandit Ravi Shankar. “I also watched his daughter, Anoushka, on YouTube.”
Her set list for the event is going to be a blend of dance tunes. “I will perform Reels, Jigs, Polkas and Slides. Damien Doherty (the Irish dancer travelling with her band) will join us for some of the tunes. He is visually impressive and adds a percussion element to what we do. I mix it up between playing the fiddle and concertina so people are familiar with both,” she reveals. One can expect songs like Cailleach An Airgid and Paddy's Lamentation. “We will also include old Irish songs and hopefully, by the end of the night, we will have everyone singing with us,” she says.
In a world of diverse genres, people from Ireland are still rooted to their music. “Ireland has a history of emigration, with diaspora around the world. People often search for their Irish roots and are interested in the music. For a country with such a small population, the culture is in a healthy place,” feels Charra.
Ireland is known for producing some of the best musical talent. “Women-centric groups like The Cranberries and The Corrs are popular outside the country, as are legends U2, who are a hit with Irish youth, since they are still touring,” she informs.
Charra wants to return to India for a longer trip and meet musicians. “This one is going to be a short one. I want to explore the connections and have a greater understanding of Indian music and instruments. I feel I haven't even scratched the surface.”
On Tonight, 9 pm onwards
At The Irish House, Grand Galleria, No 462, Phoenix Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.