Finding unity in diversity

Statesman News Service
KALIMPONG, Nov. 17 — For the 58-year-old Joel Queyras it’s like finding ‘unity in diversity’ through the universal lingo of music.
Joel, who has travelled all the way from Bonnevaun, a small village in southern France, was enchanted by the Indian culture and tradition way back in 1968. That was during his first visit to India.
As of now Joel moves down thrice a week from Pedong — 22 km from here — to Kalimpong to get his lessons on the vocals of Indian classical music from a local music academy. “The best way to discover the wonderful Indian spirit is through its music”, an enthused Joel, who has been trying to learn the ragas of Indian classical music, said. Interestingly, it was way back in the late sixties when he felt about the depth of Indian music. “It has impressed me then and it continues to enchant me”, he said adding “Its (Indian classical music) just like performing yoga where you get a chance to interact with the heavens. It’s a great valour which the western countries lacks’.
Joel attends his classes of vocals and harmonium here at the Bhairavi Music Academy (BMA) thrice a week (Monday, Thursday and Saturday) for two hours each. “I practise for not less than two hours a day”, claimed Joel.
Even his son (Joel) Jonathan Queyras (21) takes it as a real opportunity for his dad to grow spiritually. “It’s one of the most classic forms of music”, said Jonathan accepting the fact that he certainly is one of the proudest sons around to have such an enthusiastic dad. Certainly one will not argue with his feel and interest in music as he hits the classical notes of Sa, Re, Ga, Ma.
According to the Joel guru, Mr JS Lama, who is also the principal of BMA, it would take the former eight years for total completion of his course in Indian classical vocals. “He has completed the basics in vocals like Palthe, Alangakar and Taal”, Mr Lama said. Now Joel is set to enter the world of ragas. “With the normal classes on it will take him at least eight years to master in vocals”, he added.

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