Indian classical music touches The Cat Empire


New Delhi: The Cat Empire, Australian ska and jazz band has successfully created a position in the global scene. The lead vocalist and percussionist Felix Riebl recently said that he would ‘love’ to incorporate Indian classical music if gotten a chance.

The lead vocalist, after making their debut Indian show at SulaFest said “I’d love to work with Indian classical music, but I don’t know how and when. I have also loved being in this band because it has introduced me to so many types of music and I really value that a lot. I would really like to do something with it. Some of it is so kicking. If I get the opportunity, I will love to come back.”

Interestingly, influenced by the Indian classical music, Riebl expressed his love for the late sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar.

“I have listened to Indian classical music before. When I am on tour, I like listening to Pandit Ravi Shankar. It is very beautiful listening to it. It cleans my mind. It is more of an enthrallment right now. But I don’t know much about it, so I’d like to explore it. This gig may be the first step towards getting more interested in it,” he said.

However, Riebl confessed that fusing of western music with Indian classical style isn’t a cakewalk and that it is “dangerous” to generalize some of the instruments like tabla and sitar.

“The very little I know about Indian classical music, like tabla and sitar, is that it works on cycles and takes a lot of time to learn and it is very intuitive with rhythms that come up based on a world that I don’t know and I wouldn’t to pretend to know,” the 34-year-old said.

“I think it is too dangerous to generalize instruments. I would do my best to try and avoid that and try and learn something. Sometimes it is very nice to listen and learn and discover that the two styles don’t want to marry as they do their own thing,” he added.

What the lead vocalist is glad about is that they get to witness the diversity of the audience in the show.

“One of the great things about this band is the crowd is very diverse. Not one type of audience comes. A lot of young people come and a lot of old people come. To me that is a nice musical atmosphere,” Riebl added.

The Cat Empire has existed since 1999 and after all these years of playing and recording music, Riebl admits he likes to “listen more” and release less albums.

“We live in a very noisy music landscape and maybe it is just being around for a long time, but I like listening to music. I only like the sounds that are really interesting, but sometimes the mistakes I have made is that I released something for the sake of it because you love. Now I really value listening more and not put out too much,” he said.

Riebl is thrilled and excited about his visit in the country for the first time.

“It is my first time in India and first time in SulaFest. I am very excited, it is an amazing country. Being here is a thrill,” he said.

Riebl also admitted that he “never” associated India with wines, and SulaFest, happening at the lush green Sula Vineyards helped him explore this aspect of the country.

The Cat Empire has finished working on their new album “Rising With the Sun”, which will release on March 4.

“We just finished a new album. The last time we made a record, we thought it was a return to form. The intent of the album is to create a festive atmosphere. We will do a world tour, but maybe we won’t come to India this year,” he said.(IANS) (image: