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Taufiq Qureshi - Speakeasy
The illustrious percussionist in a conversation with The Record about the power of music, the meaning of ‘fusion’, and the enchanting world that inspired his brand new album.


Music Today approached me wanting to revive the Soundscape series and I told them I wanted to create a new Soundscape which was Forest. Personally, I am very fascinated by the forest… I have visited many, I love being part of nature and I wanted to explore that in the album.

The album reflects a day’s journey in the forest. When you start out, it is morning and everything is quiet. All the animals are waking up, the forest is also waking up, you hear the sounds of the birds and animals, rivers and waterfalls everywhere. Birds begin to fly and as they take off, I imagine an aerial view of the forest. When the bird lands again, you are in the deep forest and you see a predator hunting there. After his hunt, he goes to the waterhole and has a drink of water. Other herds also begin to move and you follow them, and suddenly you walk into an area of the forest which is very beautiful and enchanting. Then you are on top of a mountain which looks so beautiful, it is like a God…. Finally, it is night time and the forest and all the animals go to sleep. The songs on the album reflect this the entire day.


Music has no boundaries. It can definitely make a difference and raise awareness. I think everyone who is conscious about the fact that forests are being depleted will listen [to the message sent by concerts like the recent Live Earth and other initiatives by artists as well]. We need nature to survive. Forests give us rain; the trees take in carbon dioxide and keep the air pure. It would be lovely if we took greater care of our environment. And through music if we can bring about change, I don’t see why we should not try.


[It has been getting a bad name of late because] the word ‘fusion’ has been distorted. What is fusion? There is a scientific definition for it ~ and that is, to melt and to blend. When you have two genres of music, everything which is in that music has to melt… if it is solid, it cannot blend and it will clash. If it is liquid, it can blend and become one. A prime example of good fusion is the group Shakti. Everything ‘melted’ including their personalities. You had John [McLaughlin] in a lungi, sitting and playing guitar, the band knew everything about each other ~ their likes, dislikes, musical tastes ~ that is when they created Shakti. So melt and blend is how I define fusion.

You can read the rest of our feature Taufiq Qureshi: Speakeasy in the August 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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