FBF goes Bollywood

 Field Band Foundation has taken it to another level, expanding their musical diversity and creating a new range of music repertoire. PULSE team has been tasked to come up with musical arrangements from Bollywood to celebrate Diwali. Diwali is also called the Festival of Lights which is celebrated for five days by Indians all over the world to honour Rama-Chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravana.

For this task, the team did a research on the elements used when composing Indian and Bollywood music. After the research they had to find ways in which they can transcribe the music to fit the level of the Field band members and to fit the instruments used by Field band as they are brass instruments tuned in G Major.

On this project elements from Aller spiller a project which Khaya was part of in Norway were put into good use by transcribing difficult part of the songs and breaking them down so that they can be played effortlessly by the beginner musicians. Learnings of the Aller spiller project were also visible through the creativeness of making difficult passages of the songs interesting for musicians in state of being challenging.

Dancers during dress rehearsal
Full band during dress rehearsals

Khaya Benela and Franqo Ntshole where at the forefront, leading with creating the arrangements which came out outstandingly. Names of the songs arranged are

Kal Ho Naa Ho: by Loy mendonsa 

Teri Meri: by Himesh Reshammiya

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: by Jatin­-Lalit

Bole chudiyan: by Jatin-Lalit

When Franqo was asked about his experiences about writing the music he said “Arranging music from a different culture was a very interesting experience because while you are in your comfort zone as an arranger, you are also out of your comfort zone because all the elements are what you have never been exposed to. However, it is very fun because it gives you the opportunity to explore in depth using your artistic knowledge. The nice thing about music is that if you treat it like art you can make anything work or sound beautiful. After all, the most important thing is to connect, be relatable, make a statement and have fun, just to name a few pivotal factors”.

And this is what Khaya said

“The process was not easy as we are used to writing classical and African traditional songs, but it was also fun, and motivating learn more about different cultures and types of music. After writing all the songs and testing them with the members, it felt good as it was sounding as planned. I feel that I have gained a lot of experience even though this is my first time writing Indian music”.

Khaya Benela arranging Teri Meri.

Franqo arranging Bolechudyan

Are there challenges? Of cause! But that is what makes it fun! The challenges are what gives you the opportunity to explore. The challenges you are more likely to encounter is deciphering several elements such as a special traditional or cultural instrument and finding a suitable way to represent it in your arrangements because the actual instrument might be sacred and not accessible to anyone. The advantage of this is that it gives you the opportunity to learn and improve your diversity.

Pics: Nomkhosi Mnisi and Jacob Mhlapeng

Author: Jacob Mhlapeng.

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