Roger Hanschel, a composer and saxophone player, and Ramesh Shotham, a drummer and percussionist collaborated for the third edition of the South Asian Music Residency (SAMUR).

This year, co-directed by Dr James Bunch, the well-known composer, performer, conductor, educator and concert organiser from KMMC Chennai, the SAMUR III 2019 residency hosted a select batch of 12 musicians, composers, improvisers and performers from Germany and South Asia, working together for two weeks in Chennai, resulting in a concert.

Excerpts from the interview: 

Roger Hanschel

Give us a sense of the musical exchanges that one might expect at the residency. 

Roger & Ramesh: It is very exciting to work with these young musicians from various genres and cultures!

After the experience of SAMUR II and with this background information, we decided this time around to focus on choosing artistes with a view to a more result-oriented process, without losing the ability to experiment. 

How important are these cross-cultural exchanges?

R & R: In the current world situation, both politically and culturally, it is more important than ever to be open to influences from other traditions.

Understanding and respecting other’s musical and cultural traditions is a step in the right direction of overall social understanding.

Give us a sense of how you went about assembling such a magnificent arrangement involving the bass, guitars, violins, the flute, tabla and even electronic elements?

R&R: During the process of choosing these 12 artistes from a huge roster of applications, we thought that it would be a great idea to have an equal mix of instruments and vocalists.

Instead of looking for 12 entirely different instruments, we decided to build groups of instrumentation: three singers, two guitars along with the shree-tar, three-string instruments like violin, viola and bass, two woodwinds like the bansuri and saxophone, three percussionists and electronics.

Any plans to release segments from these residencies on digital platforms?

R&R: We are documenting the rehearsals and performances, and these videos will be posted on various platforms.