Montréal, le 5 avril 2001
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Giving Fingers

Ralph Boncy

It’s really very simple: the first performance by FingerWorks, presented in the spring of 1999 at Théâtre La Chapelle was one of the greatest shows I’ve seen in Montreal in the last two years. That a master percussionist from South India should come to live in Montreal is already a very good thing. On top of that, Anandan has initiated two local musicians into his art, making them expert players on different styles of frame-drums such as the Middle-Eastern Tar and the Irish Bodhran. The combination is an original sound that is at once complex and completely accessible. At the La Chapelle concert two years ago, the three musicians gave us rhythms with hands, feet and voices and were accompanies by their guest, New York percussion legend Glen Velez. They played on drum skins, on wood surfaces and even on the stage floor. The complicated mathematical tricks of Indian music came to life as pure magic in the hands of the FingerWorks trio.

A musical adventurer and a conscientious artisan, Anandan also invent his own instruments, such as his homemade metalophone. He’s played with Ramasutra and joined Cuban pianist Omar Sosa on stage at Kola Note. His set with Sosa was completely improvised and unrehearsed and he seamlessly integrated his South Asian rhythms with the Afro-Cuban pulse.

For this La Chapelle show, Anandan has composed for saxophone, oboe, bass, guitar and drums. The sound is all his own though, neither a world-beat groove or a jazz-fusion rerun.

“It’s a very varied performance. I have solos, duos and trios, sometimes acoustic and sometimes accompanied by electric music. I’ve also composed a few pieces for our special guest Carlo Rizzo, who plays a home made modified Italian tambourine. You could call it Karnatak funk!” adds Anandan with a laugh.