Electrik Po’s music is a mixture of different influences. Now Indian audiences can sample their music as the Indo-French band tour the country for the first time as part of Bonjour India 2022, an Indo-French artistic, cultural, educational and social initiative that celebrates cultural events, literary and scientific partnerships between France and India. Bonjour India is organized by the French cooperation network in India composed of the French Embassy and its cultural service, the French Institute in India, the network of Alliances Françaises and French Consulates.
Founded by Arfaaz Kagalwala, Florent Silve and Martin Saccardy, the group after having played in Gurgaon, Delhi, Lucknow and Chandigarh, will play in Hyderabad (April 21), followed by Chennai (April 22) and Puducherry (April 24).
Drummer, singer and electronic music producer Arfaaz Kagalwala aka Fuzzy Logic describes the music as a fusion of many styles with Indian and Balkan flavors. “It’s festive and can get you dancing but can also be relaxing and allow you to unwind; it also has cinematic soundscapes,” he explains. The trio didn’t know what to expect since it was their first time releasing their music outside of France but were pleasantly surprised to see the audience dancing and having a good time.
Arfaaz Kagalwala, Martin Saccardy and Florent Silve | Photo credit: special arrangement
This is the first visit of Florent (bassist and keyboardist) and Martin (singer and trumpeter) to India. Florent, a jazz musician at heart, is a multi-instrumentalist and also loves Indian music. “I play tabla as a hobby,” he says. Founder and president of the Free Monkey Record label, he is also an arranger, director, producer and editor supporting artists in their projects.
A student at the Classical Music Conservatory of Brittany, then of Paris, Martin discovered Balkan music thanks to the group ‘Les Pires’ with which he was associated for more than 25 years. He has worked with world music artists such as Ibrahim Maalouf, Haidouti Orkestar, Calypso Rose, L’attirail and Jahida Wehbe. Currently, he is a musician on ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme’, a 400-year-old satirical drama written by Molière with musical and dance interludes. In addition, the music that Electrik Po plays is the original revisited in Balkan style) at France’s state theater Le Comédie Française directed by Christian Hecq and Valérie Lesort.
Why is the band called Electrik Po? “It’s a story of serendipity,” quips Arfaaz, who has composed for films like Suleimani Keeda, Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein and Awakening of the zombies. “Po, the panda from the movie kung fu panda becomes a kung fu master without intending to become one. We too formed the band without any plan,” he adds. Arfaaz met Florent in Marseille, France in 2016. After playing together for 20 years with famous French pop artist Benabar (Bruno Nicolini), Florent and Martin decided to play together in 2019 but couldn’t perform. due to the COVID-19 lockdown. .
However, the group obtained a residency program from the AMI, a Marseille association that supports experimental music. The first three songs they wrote and composed during this time have now been released on an EP recently.
With the live event industry reopening, Arfaaz believes there is renewed vigor among musicians. “The pandemic shutdown for two and a half years was like taking a bottle out of a baby. We were creatively active, but not having the opportunity to play affected us,” he recalls adding a bit of optimism, and the drive to create in any circumstance helped them pull through.” The phase also showed that the creative mind cannot be locked down. .”
The India tour naturally lifted their spirits and with Arfaaz’s brief description of Indian cuisine and culture, Florent and Martin were excited to go on a food tour. Yet so far, due to a hectic schedule, they have only discovered biryani, butter chicken and parathas amid robberies and sound checks. “I also taught them to eat with their hands and now they are pros! We are lucky that our Tour Director (Tanish Thakker) is a foodie and always finds a way to get some great food between all the errands. Now we are excited to explore South Indian cuisine especially Andhra dishes, idlis, dose and Rasam.”
To register, log on to https://www.ifindia.in/event/electrik-po/#calendar