Fabrice de Graef / Ghatam Giridhar Udupa
Fabrice De Graef, flûte bansuri
Fabrice de Graef is a professional musician playing the bansuri, an Indian bamboo flute played professionally in the West by just a few musicians. In fact, Fabrice is the only Western musician to have ever received an Indian government scholarship to study for eight years with Hariprasad Chaurasia and Dr. L. Subramaniam, two of the best Indian music masters of our time.
« …He is the true style follower of his Guru the Great Hari Prasadji » … »I feel he will maintain the indian music style & system to the music lovers… »
Anindo Chatterjee (INDIA Tabla Legend)
Fabrice de Graef’s concert programme » Birth Of The Jazz Bansuri » has succeeded in taking the bansuri beyond its traditional genre onto jazz performances with internationally acclaimed jazz musicians. All of its shows receive an ever enthusiastic response from the audience.
In 2005 Fabrice forms Samrasa. his first band composed of internationally acclaimed jazz musicians. As soon as the band is formed, it receives invitations to perform at a number of theatres and music festivals around Europe. Samrasa combines the trend-setting features of modern jazz based on Cuban rhythms popularized by Tito Puentes and the Buena Vista Social Club Orchestra, which became highly popular after Wim Wender’s film and Ry Cooder’s album of the same name.
As of now Fabrice appears to be the only internationally known musician to play jazz on this instrument, which he appropriately nicknamed the » Jazz Bansuri « .
« …It has been a great experience performing and recording with the emotionally rich flute that Fabrice brings to any musical subject »
Roy Wooten (U.S.A 5 time grammy award)
Fabrice de Graef’s bansuri playing is influenced also by Celtic music. . As a child, Fabrice learns to play the Breton Bombarde from his grand-father, a great aficionado of Breton music. Later Fabrice closely follows the Irish musical scene and even moves to Ireland for a while.
In 2003, after a concert with Soag SIberil, Fabrice decides to join forces with Alain Genty, NASHA, to form Nasha, a band that blends Indian and Western music traditions. Fabrice complements the Western sound of bass and guitar with the oldest Indian instruments, i.e. the flute and the ghatam. Using his motto of “Roots solidify the earth,” he fuses a musical style based on a blend of two ancient musical genres, thus creating an ode to the timeless diversity of human culture.
In 2009, Fabrice follows the suggestion of Renaud Kressman the artistic director of label Bee Jazz , to expand Nasha with a new member, Loy Ehrlich of the Hadouk Trio.
Yet the main focus of Fabrice’s work remains the classical Indian duet format: the music of the bansuri flute and classical Indian percussion instruments as he learned it from his Indian teachers. A traditional Indian raga usually consists of two parts: first comes the alap, an unaccompanied introduction that embodies the innate meditative traits of Fabrice’s music. Then starts the gat as the percussions join in to expresses openness, virtuosity and freedom to improvise… and most importantly, the joy with which Fabrice interacts with the other musicians onstage.
At a concert in 2006, Fabrice’s band had to use a gatham instead of a tabla. This happened because the tabla had not been tuned in time for the show. The magic sound of this impromptu combination gave rise to a concert programme called « Bamboo And Clay ». A series of concerts featuring this program followed, culminating at the 2011 Festival of India in Montpeyroux, where the band was received with a standing ovation.
« …My student is extremely hard working and enterprising… » « ….I am also certain that any support given to him will be used to the fullest extent. »
L. Subramaniam (INDIA’s greatest violinist)
Indian music is part of a whole philosophy and lifestyle, which Fabrice combines with his Western lifestyle thanks to a daily use of his instrument. For an Indian raga to be fully appreciated, it has to be performed in venues with exceptional acoustics, which exist only in places of outmost serenity.
In 2004, Fabrice was invited to play a solo flute meditation at the Matrimandir, a magnificent temple in India. He recorded this recital under the name of « Meditation On Five Ragas ». This recording is especially appreciated for its relaxing qualities and is popular with massage therapists and chiropractors whose clients request that this recording be played during their treatment sessions. After a recital that Fabrice gave in Lille France, the city mayor Martine Aubry revealed to him that she wakes up every morning at the sound of this recording. And during the summer of 2011, after a concert in Bratislava countryside, customers queued for up to half an hour to indulge in the record and take the magic of the concert home.
« A morning Raga… how wonderfull! Serenity , Sweetness, Energy. Bravo to Fabrice De Graef and thank you… »
Martine Aubry (FRANCE chief town of Lille)
Fabrice creates a wide comforting universe between the styles of meditative music and world jazz., With this humble little bamboo instrument, he conveys a paradoxical feeling of familiar exoticism and simple sophistication. This paradox and the unique style of his playing seem to derive from the extraordinary life story of this exceptional musician.
Ce parcours le voici : Born in Paris of a mother who was a classical pianist, he first learns to play the Breton bagpipe from his grand-father, who is a fan of Breton music. Then Fabrice moves on to study music at the conservatory of Valenciennes, from which he graduated as a classical player of oboe. This beautiful sophisticated instrument instils in him a poetic sentiment of duality. Between the bagpipe and the oboe, the ancient and the modern, the simple and the sophisticated, Fabrice evolves from very early on in a continuum which compelled him to join the unjoinable, to restore harmony where there is division, in a peaceful journey between the shores of conflicting times and worlds. His journey starts in Antwerp, Belgium, where the jazz scene was going hand in hand with the Celtic scene supported by a strong Irish community. Then Fabrice travels to Dublin, where he lives several years, six months of which working daily with bluesman Pat Woods, the voice of Lucky Luke in the song I am a Poor Lonesome Cowboy. Then Fabrice returns to France to live in Brittany, where for some years he plays at fest noz parties (Breton night-time traditional dance parties) before finally setting out to India with the scholarship of the Indian government in his pocket. He spends nearly eight years there learning Indian music from the best of its masters: Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Harsh Wardhan et L. Subramaniam.
Fabrice has toured and/or recorded with « Future Man Roy Wooten » ( Ref : 5 fois Grammys, Bela Fleck… ), Miskho ( Johnny Halliday, Obispo, S. Regiani, Barbara…), Lukmil Perrez, Soig SIberil… Kristen Nikolas, Jacques Pellen, Alain Genty, Eric Mouquet ( premier francais nominé au Grammys, Deep Forest ), Loy Erlich ( Ref : Hadouk Trio )..
To this day, Fabrice de Graef is the only bansuri flute player to combine the elements of Irish music, classical Indian music and jazz in his playing. His mentors are amongst the greatest musicians on earth.
– 1991 Fabrice starts making his first bamboo flutes in Antwerp, Belgium. He gets his real musical education at Antwerp’s Irish jam sessions
– 1992 Meets legendary bansuri player Hariprasad Chaurasia
– 1993 Finds the “perfect instrument,” a cone-shaped Burger-style Boehm flute dating back to1898.
– 1995 Tours for six months across Ireland supporting a singer from Texas.
– 1996 For several years plays at Breton fest noz parties with Kern, Kristen Nikolas, Hirhoil and many others…
– 1998 As Fabrice cannot have his Boehm flute fixed, he accepts an invitation to go to India to live with a family of musicians
– 2001 Receives an ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) scholarship & MAE.
– 2003 Creates the Celtic Beauties programme and forms Nasha with Alain Genty
– 2004 Creates the Meditation on Five Ragas programme
– 2005 Forms the Samrasa Quartet
– 2006 Creates the Bamboo and Clay programme. Nasha Association produces over forty events in the French department of Nord (north of France) for the lille3000 cultural event.
– 2008 Settles down in the north of France
– 2009 Creates the Birth of the Jazz Bansuri programme
– 2010 Fabrice creates the D’Est en Ouest programme. Nasha recruits Loy Ehrlich and becomes a quartet