India Blog Day 6 & 7 – The Performance, Chennai

Day 6 & 7 – The Performance, Chennai and a question or two.

After a day of changes, Anantha our mridanga player has had to drop out of the performance due to family illness but has a replacement player coming instead. Sonya is also coming along from Earthsync, the reason all this is happening in Chennai. She has just finished another successful Indie/Earth Exchange which I would have liked to have been at. After the rugs are placed carefully and the lights are dimmed the auditorium at KM looks really warm and comfortable and Mark’s installation, in the round this time, is perfect. As we arrive at KM of the evening of the performance we meet Akshay who will perform with us at the Chennai leg of The Algebra of Listening. As the audience begins to arrive and at first are unsure where to sit it doesn’t take long before a small crowd is gathered crossed-legged on the rugs. The installation is scattering sound around the space and sounding really nice. Adam opens proceedings with a short speech and then I thank everyone that is involved. We open the performance element with Akshay Anantapadmanabhan on mridanga delicately building notes and rhythm alongside the installation. He plays a really interesting set that shows understanding of what the work is about and for such little time to prepare it is amazing. Rian and Nakul ‘s Chennai set is really different from the Kolkata one but I think the difference of sound is more sympathetic to their work. There is more warmth to the sound due to the curtains and PA. Not that Kolkata was bad just sharper of sound due to the gallery marble. Rian rounds off the evening with an exciting and improvised DJ set which is manipulated from i-tunes. Not an easy task by any means. It is pleasing to see the students gather by Rian’s side to check-out what he is doing. There is a genuine interest from a lot of the students and it is good that we have emphasised the electronic aspects of the project for the students at KM.


Next day I prepare some notes to deliver a talk to the students prior to the Q & A with Mark, Rian and myself lead by Nakul. Nakul is a bit apprehensive about doing the Q & A at KM but is persuaded by Mark and Adam that it is a good thing. There is a good turn-out for this but strangely inevitably the Counterflows film doesn’t work and there are technical difficulties showing You-tube clips of Counterflows artists.  But I manage to sputter out some areas I hope of interests to the students about the world according to Counterflows and others in the alternative music scene across the planet. The Q &A is well chaired by Nakul with some interesting questions. After about an hour and breaking the formal chairs in a row in front of people groups of students gather around Mark and Rian with questions and ideas. I nip out to talk with Sonya and Adam about future plans and stuff.

Chennai concludes very satisfactorily. A lovely thing that happened was that followers of Mark Fell’s music came along to the performance after seeing it on Mark’s website. They are working in Chennai and were amazed that Mark was there. It sure is a small world. A lovely comment came from one of the KM staff who thought that they should install a sound work like Mark’s permanently in a space at KM for people to sit in to gather their thoughts etc. A good idea I think.