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Can’t wait to collaborate with Indian musicians: Donald Harrison

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New Delhi : Calling himself a big Bollywood fan, Grammy nominated American alto saxophonist Donald Harrison says it will be a “dream come true” to collaborate with Indian musicians.

“It will be a dream come true to collabrate with Indian musicians. And not only that, I am ready to play saxophone and dance in Bollywood movies,” says Harrison, who is best known for his 1991 album ‘Indian Blues’.

According to him collaborations between artistes from the two countries will help put their respective music on the global map and foster exchange of ideas and cultures.

“Some of us have to collaborate with Indian musicians and we have to do the same for them in America. Like the way that Beatles did with Ravi Shankar in 1960s. Hopefully, time will provide that opportunity.

“I have always loved Indian music. Now we know that people of India love American music. We are exchanging ideas and showing the beauty of both the cultures. It’s a great experience,” he says.

Harrison, who recently performed at the American Centre on the ocassion of World Tourism day, enthralled the audience with an eclectic mix of several renditions in the genre.

The 56-year-old musician, on his first visit to India, says he had grown up listening to the sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and that he always wanted to visit the country but no offers came through in the past.

Talking about what comes to his mind at the mention of Indian music, he says, “Ragas, tablas, different scales of music…And obviously Ravi Shankar. My father used to play his music throughout his life. He is definitely one of my idols. Not to forget Bollywood…the dancing and singing.”

It was “love at first sight” for the musician from New Orleans, who has taken a fondness for the Indian culture and heritage.

Harrison, who visited Taj Mahal in Agra, finds the local cuisine, particularly the curries delectable.

“Culture, music and architecture…There is so much here. I love the tapestries on clothes…the rickshaws. Curries are extremely delicious…the big monuments. It is like living a part of something I only saw on television or read in books,” he says.

However, when asked why jazz has not been able to cut into mainstream Indian music, Harrison says a dearth of jazz artistes in the country might be one of the reasons.

“I think if more jazz artistes come here then it may open the door for jazz music here,” adding that him playing the saxophone for Bollywood films might help.

“You have to put me in a bollywood movie with saxophone,” he quips.

Harrison, who is set to perform in Chandigarh next, the musician finds the India audience to be the “warmest.”

“The audience here treats you like a special guest. They know how to engage with the artist. And most importantly, you people are the warmest,” he added.

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