So many impressions already! – Danish Composer Alex Jonsson on his India experience.
With a stellar line-up of prodigious young talent and legends of the genre, the first of Jazz India Circuit’s twin concerts organised by Teamwork Arts in the National Capital drove the city’s jazz-lovers to a weekend of extraordinary music at One Golden Mile, New Delhi.
Headlined by legendary drummer Dave Weckl performing with bass prodigy Mohini Dey, Abhijith Nair, Sandeep Mohan (who form the group Absandey) and Joe Johnson in a striking collaboration, the first leg of JIC Delhi also featured leading jazz players from Denmark, United Kingdom, USA, Israel and India.
The closing act on Day 1 was by renowned Danish guitarist, composer and improviser Alex Jønsson who played Nordic jazz.
Jønsson, who was born and grew up in West Jutland, obtained the prestigious Nordic Master of Jazz (NOMAZZ) from the Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus in 2013.
Since then, open spaces have been replaced by musical diversity and curiosity. He has toured in Germany and the Czech Republic as well as in the Nordic, Balkan and Baltic countries. He has been greatly recognized for his Nordic and melancholic expression – both as a composer and a soloist, as part of the radio darlings I Think You’re Awesome and Jakob Sørensen’s Bagland and as accompanist for the critically acclaimed Norwegian singer Live Foyn Friis as well as for award-winning Finnish singer-songwriter Mirja Klippel.
Gayathri Natarajan from Loudest, explored a little about Alex’s India experience, and this is what he had to say!
Gayathri: How was your India experience this time around?
Alex: We arrived only six days ago, but so much has happened and there are so many impressions already!
India is obviously very different from Denmark, in good and bad. All of it has been a huge experience for me.
The poverty, pollution and the hectic traffic is something that really sticks out and catches my attention. It’s not something I’m used to in Denmark. It’s very interesting to see, although also very sad. Something that I really admire about India, however, is that the culture seems so rich. Such great music, traditions and a high level of spirituality. That is something I really admire and wish we had more of in Denmark. The people I’ve met in India have all been very kind and helpful. The food great and so far no Delhi Belly, haha. I’ve really enjoyed it here and hope to get the chance to come back again.
Gayathri: What was your experience with the audience at the JIC Delhi edition. What did you play and how was the response?
Alex: I had a lovely experience playing at Jazz India Circuit Delhi. It was wonderful to be playing outside in the middle of the beautiful surroundings at One Golden Mile and get the chance to perform my own music to the Indian audience. My music is so-called ‘Nordic Jazz’, meaning North European / Scandinavian – quite melancholic and relatively quiet. A huge contrast to the atmosphere at One Golden Mile with planes flying above and honking cars around the festival area. I guess it’s not a type of music that’s very often presented in India but I felt that it was very well received by the audience who us to play an encore.
Gayathri: How and what is your experience with Indian music, especially the rhythm and phonetic patterns of Indian classical music? Are you planning any collaborations with Indian art?
Alex: My experience is quite limited.
I did once try to learn some Konnakol (South Indian Classical Rhythm studies). But in Denmark it’s not so easy to find people with experience in this or books about it. I’d love to dive further into this and into Indian music in general. Hopefully I will soon.
The music I’ve heard here has impressed me. I think there’s a lot of inspiration and teaching for me to get from that. I’d love to collaborate with some Indian artists, but do not have any specific plans at the moment.