The musical group Mosaïque was attracted and inspired by the diversity of folk music of Bengal and that led them to undertake a trip for 4 weeks in Bengal in January 2015 in order to acquaint themselves with a different culture through music. This was facilitated by a famous singer, composer, producer and song writer of Bengal, Surojit Chatterjee, who has been a friend of Mosaïque since 2003, being interested in our style of music and the sense of musical family that permeated our group. Recently we have been working together to blend the folk music of Bengal with our compositions so it was important for us to go to the source for our inspiration.
The anxiety of visiting a country rife with poverty and misery was dissipated from day one when in the early morning the chant of spiritual “bhajan” floated in from the nearby temples and even from adjoining apartments provoking a sense of peace. The discovery that music was an intrinsic part of the culture and a safety valve for the day-to-day tension of a city with tens of million people cohabiting in a relatively restricted place was an eye-opener for all of us.
We discovered the fascinating community of Baul singers who live a life of simplicity, immersed in music, keeping alive the folklore of Bengal. This encounter with the Bauls, in spite of not being able to speak in Bengali with them, but communicating through music, left a profound mark on us. A similar feeling was experienced in communicating with the musicians of Surojit Chatterjee’s group Surojit O Bondhura. It gave rise to impromptu music sessions exploring the music of one another and a spontaneous friendship blossomed through music. This experience inspired us to blend Quebec folk songs with contemporary folk songs of Bengal on stage of a mega-outdoor concert. The harmonics alternated from one language into another without a break in the rhythm (http://youtu.be/jGkWha8B7Jw). It was an uplifting moment for us and the thousands of people attending the concert, a true melding of musical cultures. Next day the critics declared that Kolkata experienced a true fusion of music.
The members of Mosaïque are: ELYSE BERGERON who has been passionate about singing since her early age and whose musical sense and aptitude permits her to sing in at least 5 different languages; OVIDE COUDE a 22-year-old professional musician and a composer who has a perfect musical ear and taught himself several string instruments like mandolin, oud, guitar, banjo in which he excels. Being blind since birth didn’t deter him from being in the forefront of the musical scene and has earned him quite a reputation as a young musician and composer; MARISOL JOSEE BEAUCHESNE is a professional musician, a percussionist, a flutist accordionist, singer and composer, and she brings an interesting palette of colours to the music of Mosaïque; PASCAL BOUCHARD, a multi-instrumentalist and a member of Mosaique since 1995, is a professional musician. He travels around various schools performing and promoting music as a way of encouraging students to have a healthy outlook through music; JAYANTA GUHA is a self-taught percussionist and has been the spirit of Mosaique over the last twenty two years underlining the fact that music has no boundaries and draws people together from different cultural backgrounds; FREDERIC MALTAIS is a self-taught tabla player who specializes in various types of percussion adding exotic touches to the compositions of Mosaïque.
Each member of the group felt that their perception of India of poverty and misery was transformed, inspired by the music and its impregnating influence on people to achieve a sense of happiness in their lives. Music was everywhere, on trains, in rural markets, in the abode of the Bauls, the living room of Surojit and even at the pottery where the potter brought out his instruments on hearing we were musicians and started an impromptu concert. The short video (http://youtu.be/7znP52G8piw) was inspired by this phenomenon of ever-present music in day-to-day life. We returned inspired to complete our album that was in the works, blending harmonies that we picked up though this dream-like voyage.
Mosaïque explores rhythmic bases of various influences and demonstrates that the music transcends cultural diversity helping to sow a message of friendship between people. This is what inspired our trip and we felt that we built a bridge of hope through our music.