WEAVING MY
ANCESTORS' VOICES

 

 

 

 

   


Sheila:

A classical Indian performance, that's right. So they would actually, sing that right at the end and I would suddenly twig that that's, in a way, what they'd been singing all along but may be very very slowly or in a very embellished fashion or taking off from the line and so on. So I wanted to do that with a four line lyric, in the British Folk Tradition and I've kept to the ornaments of a British Folk Tradition but just stretched it, stretched the lines out and repeated them in different fashions and improvised with them but using the lyric as an inspiration point.

John:

Mmm, when Ravi Shankar and other Indian musicians have been here, they've talked about, you know, the raga is based on a ghat, a song and, you know, I sort of get the impression that, you know, there are lots of heads being scratched out there in radio land when he says that. This sounds like it would be, you know, sort of a very transparent structure that an English person could follow.

Sheila:

Well, they are painted a bit more clearly, maybe. When you listen to a, sort of, a British Folk song that has its four line verse, and the melody gets repeated with different lyrics, in essence that's what you're talking about with a ghat. But in order to make it easier to exploit the intervals, rather than simply learning the scale of a raga, you're given this little chorus, if you like. And if you ever forget the rules of the raga you can always go back to that chorus and it will remind you of the rules. So, that's - it's a similarity between the two structures that I was really trying to exploit there.

John:

All right, let's hear it. This is also a solo piece with a little bit of drone in the background?

Sheila:

It's a little bit of vocal drone underneath.

John:

Uhuh, Oh OK. Sheila Chandra is my guest. I'm John Schaefer and you're listening to New Sounds.

BREAK

We've just heard "The Enchantment", that's from Sheila Chandra on the recent CD, "Weaving My Ancestors Voices" and, once again, kind of structurally, showing us how both a traditional British Folk Song singer might approach a song and the way a Classical Indian singer might perform a raga.

Sheila:

I think a very good British Folk singer would. I got fed up of hearing recordings that were not quite so good, where the singer had felt that the lyric was so important, that they would just keep going through it, verse by verse, and you would know exactly what to expect periodically and that's why I wanted to bring some of that playfulness from the Indian side into the structure.

John:

Are there still British Folk singers who do sing it the old way, where it's never exactly the same way twice, where notes are inflected differently? You know things are, sort of, off the scale slightly in terms of being sharper flat.