“My music has a very spiritual background, a sanctity that is almost like worship.” – Ravi Shankar
“I was first drawn to raga when I saw Ravi Shankar on television at 2am. His mastery of the sitar really got me.”
Indian music finally found Jesse in 1992 in Leeds when he started a 10 year teacher-student interaction with Dharambir Singh.
“By observing my teachers and the world of sound, I have become more in tune with the purity of Indian Music. When one sees the glow of a master musician who is guiding you, those feelings stay forever and reveal many layers of musical perception.”
Jesse learnt under pressure in the traditional way, where the performance stage became the classroom.
“I listened, I learned, I copied and eventually I transformed the traditional form of Indian Classical raga from perceived material into a living sound.”
He was unaware of the outcome at first.
“There was not a specific moment at which I felt I was being trained to be an Indian Classical Musician, the process simply evolved. It was a new experience for Dharambir and me, but somehow my dedication allowed something to blossom.”
His need to deepen his exposure to Indian music led him to India
“I then decided to pursue this by travelling to India to learn from the source, immerse myself in the music and also in the full culture.”
“This was a lesson from Dr.Ashok Ranade that has been with me always…”
- For a westerner to learn and perform Indian music 4 main challenges need to be accepted:
- Regular training with one’s teachers
- A desire and respect for real knowledge and truth in music
- A group of like minded musicians
- Destiny; God’s grace and a very supportive Indian music community.
Jesse’s first formal teacher was Dharambir Singh, and this learning led to a performance project called Raga Nova.
“A typical concert would be unplanned, agreeing repertoire backstage. I would have to keep up with the music for 60 minutes at one stretch.”
This open way of improvising was perfect for my temperament, and it allowed me to collaborate with many Indian Musicians.