Fretless Nomad with Soumik Datta

Photo courtesy of Soumik Datta Arts

Fretless Nomad: A musical journey with Soumik Datta and Fiona Bevan

June 20 2014A musical journey through time but with a difference…

TOP singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan (who with pop prince Ed Sheeran wrote One Direction’s hit “Little Things”) joins sarod player Soumik Datta in what will be a one-off and very special musical collaboration on Sunday (June 22).

The pair will join an Afghan rubab player in “Fretless Nomad” which charts the musical evolution of this instrument and its relationship to the sarod, the far better known Indian 19-stringed fretless lute.

It will not just be a concert, as Datta will explain the background to the instruments and there will be a narrative of sorts to accompany the different musical compositions.


Fiona Bevan

Alka Bagri, who is married to Lord Bagri’s son Apurv, and is from The Bagri Foundation, which is sponsoring “Fretless Nomad”, told “We have to do something different (I told) Soumik – it shouldn’t be just a performance without really understanding the music or the instruments.

“Many of us don’t really know without doing any research, but it’s not going to be academic or a lecture.”

Bagri, who completed a D. Phil from Oxford University in miniature painting a few years ago, is keen to develop and provide a platform for British Asian artists, who represent a younger generation.

“I want to work with artists who are based here and who can bridge the East-West gap, it’s very important to me. I have children who grew up here and I love the classical tradition but I want to work with artists who have successfully bridged the gap and are breaking the shackles.

“When you go to all these festivals, there are not enough young people there.”

While “Fretless Nomad” is a one-off, she is looking at other projects which come out of a classical tradition but can still be relevant and meaningful to a younger generation.

She is close to securing commitment from an artist who will recount Sufi romances and is interested in a possible series examining the development of another classical instrument, the santoor.

“I am very interested in any Indian or South Asian music, folk essentially and with the foundation I want to share things I enjoy and the journey with other people,” Bagri said, clarifying that the sarod and rubab were not any more special to her than other traditional musical implements.

It’s not just music or South Asia, the Bagri Foundation supports.

On July 2, it is supporting “Reel Fictions: Unlocking Iranian Cinema”, with Rose Issa at Asia House in London.

Similar to a book club, participants are advised to see the films before they turn up to the talk. “I want to have club feel and for those people to become friends,” said Bagri.

Earlier this year it sponsored the Festival of Asian Literature at Asia House.

Video promo ‘Fretless Nomad

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