French multi-instrumentalist Davy Sicard believes the “universal language” that music speaks has the power to ban wars from the world and can unify people.

“Most of the conflicts and wars in the world are due to a bad knowledge of people between themselves. Music is a universal language that can make people come closer to each other and show that the differences between cultures are not a problem, but a solution and source of wealth for everybody,” Sicard told IANS during his visit to the city to participate at the ongoing Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF).

The first time he performed in India was in 2011 and he feels honoured to be back in the country.

“It is an honour to be invited for performances at RIFF and at the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel (in Delhi) for their annual Diwali celebration. The first time I was here, we had a jam session with Indian musicians at the end of my performance. So this time, I was seeking to go further in these musical meetings.

“We had the pleasure to meet four traditional Rajasthani musicians and one woman singer called Parveen Sabrina Khan,” he said.

What is his take on the Indian music scenario’

“I do not know enough about the history of Indian music to have a judgment about it, but it seems to me that even if all the modern styles have been developed in the last years, your musical traditions are still very alive and protected. And this is a good thing,” Sicard said.

“It is such a huge country that we cannot have a realistic impression after only a few days. But we feed ourselves with this strong cultural identity we can feel here (in Jodhpur). (Also) It is important that the youngest generations know where they come from and how much work was done by the elders to grow their music and transmit their traditions,” he said.

Sicard feels that live music is very important for artistes like him, and so, music festivals are exceptional opportunities to share an event with different people and also professionals.

“We do not know much about the Indian music scene. This trip is a chance for us to discover the local scene and traditional music from India, and especially Rajasthan that seems to be very rich,” he said.

While Indian classical musicians have oft rued about how the youth is gravitating more towards western and Bollywood music, Sicard said “in all countries of the world, some commercial musical currents are very popular and people are curious to discover music from abroad”.

“But this is not a danger as long as people keep a consciousness of the strength of their own culture and traditions,” he said, adding that he finds Indian culture’s roots “really strong and very deep”.

Sicard, who enjoyed discovering sarangi players in Jodhpur, feels that music is free and everyone who wants to be an artiste must make a choice and assume it.

“But it is important to take consideration of the elders’ work and knowledge and keep that in mind while going forward.”

(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of RIFF organisers. Nivedita can be contacted at [email protected])

By Nivedita