Originally involved in the post-rock scene in urban Australia, Mattu has travelled an eclectic musical route via North India to Ireland. A student of the sarode (25 stringed India lute) since 2004, Mattu has spent many years studying Indian Classical music with Sougata Roy Chowdhury in Kolkata and more recently with K Sridhar in the UK. He has performed and taught Indian music across Europe and Asia and was a founding member of successful fusion group The Bahh Band. He completed his MA (1st Honours) in Ethnomusicology at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and is currently exploring the performance possibilities of Indian and Irish music as part of an Arts Practise PhD program. He has been awarded a 2 year scholarship from the Irish Research Council to complete this research. Mattu was also recently offered support from Culture Ireland and the Music Network to tour India and has developed a hybrid sarode particularly for playing Irish music.
Reclaiming the Mongrel: A practise based exploration of the hybrid possibilities of Irish and Indian music.
This research is an interdisciplinary investigation of the relationship between Irish Traditional and North Indian Classical music. It is an attempt to explore, in both a rigorous academic manner and through professional level musical composition and performance, sympathies and divergences in Indo-Irish hybrid music making. Grounded in ethnomusicological theory (Rice, 1994; Aubert, 2007), this research also utilises an arts practice approach, theorizing complex musical relationships through practice, analysis and the production of new hybrid musical works. This methodology draws upon the arts practice research concept of ‘critical meta-practice’ (Melrose, 2002) to employ musical skill sets to generate data and pursue research questions. This project also acts as a case study addressing the instability of the post-modern condition resulting from globalisation and interprets hybridization as one of its cultural consequences. This process has been provocatively characterized as cultural ‘mongrelisation’ (Stross, 1999). I understand mongrelisation within the frame of what cultural theorist Homi K. Bhabha has called the ‘Third Space’ (1994) which relates to the in-between state of individuals with multiple cultural identities. This ‘Third Space’ is an important area for the negotiation, construction and ‘enunciation’ (Bhabha, 1994) of cultural ideology. I wish to extend this concept in exploring the creative possibilities of Irish-Indian hybridization as a hybrid cultural product and apply theoretical applications of ‘Third Space’ and ‘mongrelisation’ to better theorize hybrid music in general.