A Franco-Indian Creation by Thierry Pécou



Looking at the amount of cultures and oral traditions he explored from up close and personal, calling Thierry Pécou and experienced traveller is quite an understatement. But somehow a trip to India never happened. Until January 2017, when Thierry and clarinettist Carjez Gerretsen were invited to come over and explore the country’s musical richness.

It was a long-time dream finally coming true:
"For those of you who have never been there: the first time in India is almost some kind of initiation. Forget the India in your imagination, even when your expectation has been influenced by the images from the media reality will not even remotely resemble the picture in your mind. First contact is like a positive shock to your system, caused by a mixture of fascination, wonder, exhilaration and destabilization." - Thierry Pécou

Both men came back excited and determined that an exchange with Indian musicians should become the next Ensemble Variances project. It will certainly become a beautiful addition to the ensemble’s mission of creating new harmonies and stimulating musical exchange by combining the oral traditions Thierry Pécou researches during his travels with the western written music.

In Sangâta they will meet some of the finest musicians from different musical traditions in India. Hard to say what it will sound like in advance, because improvisation is perfectly normal within Indian music. The structure of the program is set up like a roadmap, with Thierry guiding the musicians from behind the piano, finding a route during working session preceding the performances. Sometimes the Western instruments and traditions take the lead, sometimes the Hindustani tradition will take the lead. And from time to time they all end up on a crossroads or a roundabout, where both ways meet, collide and cross link with each other.

A challenge the ensemble members are already looking forward to!



Ragini Shankar

The name 'Ragini' originates from the word raga and means melody. Born in a family with a musical lineage spanning over seven generations, Ragini Shankar began her training in Hindustani Classical Music on the Violin at the tender age of 4. She has learnt music under the tutelage of her mother, Sangeeta Shankar, and her illustrious grandmother, the eminent violinist Dr. N. Rajam with whom she is regularly playing. A professional musician at a young age, she has already performed in many prestigious Indian music festivals as the 'Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav' in Pune and the 'Doverlane Music Festival' in Kolkata, as well as on several international stages. As a virtuoso, Ragini is recognized as one of the promising artists of Indian Classical music.

Rishab Prasanna

Rishab Prasanna was born in a renowned family of musicians, so one could say music is literally in his blood. Nurtured by the tradition (Gharana) of Banaras, Rishab is equally at ease with the light classical genres like thumri, chaiti, kajri and dhun (folk music of India). Since 2009 he moved to Europe where he explored new musical languages: Swedish folk, jazz, contemporary, Greek and Arabic.  With Davy Sur, he created a unique dialogue between Indian flute and Davy's percussive inventions. David Amar, who recently joined the group to create the new project One Million Faces, brings another dimension to their music: electronic, deep and definitely contemporary. So Rishab will have quite something to add!

Amaan Ali Khan

Amaan Ali belongs to a famous family of musicians. He is the son of sarangi maestro Ustad Ghulam Sabir Khan and was initiated on tabla by Ustad Manju Khan. Amaanreceived several distinction for his art and is a Gold Medalist of All India Radio (2002).He has accompanied many eminent artists (Smt. Shubha Mugdal, Begum Abida Parveen, Ustad Sabir Khan) in India and around the world.
As the Ensemble finds it very important to work as much as possible with new talents alongside esteemed performers, Amaan Ali will be playing the percussions. A promising talent, again from a family with a long musical tradition, who already accompanied many eminent artists and got his share of distinction. Yet at the beginning of his career, but we have no doubt he will become one of those eminent artists himself. 

Number of people

Ragini Shankar violin
Rishab Prasanna bansuri flute
Amaan Ali tabla

Ensemble Variances

Anne Cartel flute
Carjez Gerretsen clarinet
Thierry Pécou artistic direction and piano


Co-production CIMN-Détours de Babel / Alliance Française de Delhi / Ensemble Variances / Kalasetu.
Co-host Détours de Babel / Odyssée Eybens.

The Ensemble Variances receive support from Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication - Drac Normandie, Région Normandie, Spedidam, Sacem, Ville de Rouen, Odia Normandie, Onda. It is member of Fevis, Futurs Composés, Bureau Export and Profedim.