German jazz musician Max Clouth, in India since 2009 to learn classical music, plans to perform at the Delhi International Music Festival.
Max Clouth was barely 12 when he went for a family holiday to a small town near Frankfurt, Germany. As he walked into an Indian classical music concert one evening, little did he know that it would define the course of his life and career. “I don’t remember the name of the artistes but the music had a huge impact on me. It was so differnt from western music that I had grown up with, and it had this peculiar spiritual quality,” says the 27-year-old, who started learning the guitar at the age of seven. He then went on to become a huge fan of fusion band Shakti, which brought together Indian and jazz traditions.
What sets Clouth and his music apart from the plethora of sounds today is the way he amalgamates his German roots with his Indian interest. Currently studying Carnatic music at Swarnbhoomi Academy of Music in Chennai, Clouth came to India in 2009 to learn Hindustani classical music at Mumbai’s Sangeet Mahabharti under Pandit Nayan Ghosh. “He used to teach me everything on the sitar and I used to play it on the guitar. Even at Swarnabhoomi, I am learning the nuances of Carnatic music on the guitar,” he explains.
It is this unusual style of playing both western and Indian classical music that has made the guitarist a sought-after name in the indie music scene in India. His debut 10-track album, Guitar, has found many takers, as he effortlessly produces the sweet sound of sitar on his guitar and mixes it with jazz influences. Clouth has already started working on his second album, with a band called Triotonos. “The sound will be very different from Guitar. It will be all about world music,” he reveals.
Clouth’s first year in India was all about being engrossed in studying and travelling, and once he settled down, his music took the indie route.
His fusion acts got him an audience in Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Goa. “I also work in the studio with Amit Trivedi on film scores and TV features. I couldn’t be part of Coke Studio @ MTV because I was in Germany at that time,” says Clouth. Though his thirst for all things Indian is still there, Clouth is shifting back to Frankfurt later this year, but says will tour India regularly for gigs. “I am planning to perform in Delhi this year at the Delhi International Music Festival in December,” he says