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Five musicians from different backgrounds and geographies but with a shared musical understanding will inaugurate MusiX this weekend. MusiX is an initiative by the Goethe-Institut, Chennai. From 11 July, the German cultural organization will host a monthly cross-cultural, collaborative performance of contemporary music in its auditorium.

The inaugural concert will feature pianist and composer Aman Mahajan, who leads the jazz/world ensemble REFUGE and is a faculty member at the Global Music Institute (GMI), New Delhi. He will be joined by New York City-based Serbian vocalist Aleksandra Denda. They will be accompanied by Mishko M’ba (electric bass) and Matt Littlewood (saxophone), who are based in Puducherry and Auroville, respectively. Tarun Balani, co-founder of GMI, will provide the percussion on drums.

Mahajan, who has previously worked with each of the musicians who are part of this concert, says they are excited to be collaborating on this project as there is room for improvisation. Each of them brings a particular aesthetic to the music, he adds.

“We’ll be presenting our compositions in pairs. Each pair will have one composition by Aleksandra and one by me that have certain musical ideas or a shared spirit in common," Mahajan says.

While Aleksandra’s compositions are characterized by meaningful lyrics combined with sounds of neo-soul, RnB, and contemporary jazz, his own compositions are thematic, “about equal parts structured and improvised".

The next show in the MusiX series is a benefit concert by Opera India to rebuild the department of music in Kathmandu University, which was damaged in the recent earthquakes. Opera India is a venture begun by vocalist Abhinav Sridharan to bring Indian and Western Classical Music together.

The following month, the series will host a collaboration between the band Filter Coffee, whose music is a blend of Indian classical, folk, and electronica, and Mahesh Vinayakram, a leading Carnatic vocalist and percussionist. Vocalist Sarah Buechi and percussionist Christoph Haberer, who make up the band Animata, will perform in September. Their music echoes a love for experimentation and pulsating rhythms.

Mahajan says that initiatives like this which have a collaborative artistic aspect at their core, along with the infrastructure necessary to support it, are important. “Max Mueller Bhavan has a lovely auditorium and grand piano. We’re looking forward to performing there this Saturday."

MusiX, 11 July, 7pm, at the auditorium, Goethe-Institut Chennai/Max Mueller Bhavan, 4, Rutland Gate, 5th Street, Chennai. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For details, call 28331314.

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