Exclusive: Contemporary jazz artiste Macha Gharibian is a fan of Hariprasad Chaurasia and even discovered Kishore Kumar during her Indian tour
Singer, pianist, songwriter and composer Macha Gharibian has seamlessly bridged the gap between several global music cultures through her stunning repertoire. "I just bought some music by Kishore Kumar. We were listening to him on the radio in a taxi ride, and I loved it!” reveals Macha, who has been touring the country for the past few days.
The artiste has united contemporary jazz with influences she has picked up from New York, Armenia and Paris and melded them into a genre that’s quite unclassifiable. The performer played a gig recently at the annual Jazzfest 2019 at the Dalhousie Institute, and we caught up with her to understand her process better.
What do you think about Indian listeners?
I was very curious about how the audience would respond to my music. I think they enjoyed it and it makes me happy, we might have a chance to come back! I think there is something in Armenian music that people can really connect to, it is probably close to the traditional Indian music, I am talking about the feeling and the spirit of this music. So in a way, I am discovering that we have some common connections!
You have consistently brought together several music cultures in your work. What influences your sound the most?
Jazz is freedom and it allows a space for the musicians to play as they are and not as we want them to play. Jazz is the genre that truly opened my vision of music and made me create my own compositions by mixing Armenian influences. Once I began rearranging Armenian popular songs, I realized it was something natural because I grew up with it, and I have listened to that music a lot. And I am loving it more and more.
Are you familiar with Indian music? Do you have any favourites?
I am not a specialist but I am fascinated by Chaurasia, Carnatic music and Konokol. It is terrific!
Do you enjoy the global contemporary jazz spectrum as a performer?
I am fascinated by American musicians like Ralph Alessi, Craig Taborn, William Parker. Craig is one of my favourite jazz pianists. He is so innovative and creative!
Can you tell us what's on your playlist right now?
I am totally in love with Zeca Veloso. He is the son of the famous Brazilian singer Gaetano Veloso. I discovered another pianist from NYC who I really love, her name is Kelly Moran, she prepares the piano to make a sound that you can't tell is coming from a piano.
My other big love is Ibrahim Tatlitses, a famous Turkish singer. I am also listening all the time to the album Still Crazy after all these years, one of my favourite album by Paul Simon.