Rhythm and three syllables

Music by Bibi Tanga and the Thakita Band came as a fitting conclusion to the Francophonie Week. A review by Manjari Sinha

Rhythm and three syllables

Bibi Tanga with Thakita Performing

Alliance Francaise de Delhi reverberated with the myriad hues of cultural extravaganza, including film festivals, theatre, live music acts and, of course, the popular Francophone Méla during their annual Francophonie Week held at their premises recently.

The exhibition on Indo-French heritage, film screenings, theatre production La Marche de Rama (based on the Ramayana), and the concerts Tritha Electric, Webster and the concluding Bibi Tanga and Thakita had the most enthusiastic response.

The personal involvement of Jean Francois Roman, the director of Alliance Francaise de Delhi, was, of course, the inspiration behind the success of the spirited event.


The M L Bharatiya Auditorium of the Alliance Francaise was full to capacity with no place left, even in the overflowing aisles, when Bibi Tanga and Thakita performed on the concluding evening of the Francophonie Week.

Bibi Tanga, a gifted musician of African origin from Paris, simply enjoyed himself with the Indian band Thakita, comprising three talented musicians from Kerala.

Music seemed to be running in the veins of all four of them, as they together took the enthusiastic audience to the heights of exhilaration, leaving them with an irresistible desire to dance along, which they did towards the end.

Opening their concert of Tribal and Folk music with the Happy song of Hope “aayo…” that meant “someone is coming to my place”, Bibi Tanga, the French vocalist on the Bass Guitar, Anthony on the Electric Guitar, Sunil Kumar on percussions and Rahul, the multi-talented bassist, flutist, percussionist and vocalist all in one, made the crowds hyper from the very beginning.

Then came the Rhythmic Chenda-Melam with “Thakita-Thalam” interspersed with Kavitta-like spoken mnemonics in eight-beats cycle and the Sanskrit Shloka “Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu…” and the Shanti Mantra. By this time people had covered even the remaining space on the floor and started swaying to the irresistible rhythm in front of the stage.

Fascinated by their invigorating performance, one wanted to know more about them and their coming together. The post performance conversations with them revealed the story of their coming together as a band. Bibi Tanga, the singer-producer from Paris, was looking for some Indian folk and tribal style music to incorporate into his upcoming production.

He discussed the idea with Francois Grosjean, the director of Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum. He introduced Bibi Tanga to John Anthony, a veteran guitarist from Kerala and the founder of the band Karnatrix.

Discussing the possibility of collaboration they knew instantly about this new genre. Bibi Tanga then met John Anthony with the idea of composing a couple of songs together. To add a flavour of rhythm and groove, John Anthony regrouped with his long-time friend Sunil Kumar, percussionist and singer of this production.

Rahul the bassist, flutist and a versatile DJ, also found place in the composing sessions. Together the three of them formed the band Thakita (three syllables of Indian rhythm) denoting the three members of the band. In a week’s time they ended up arranging five songs with a blend of Central African Sangho and Indian Malayalam folk.

They even managed to finish recording of the rough tracks. Listening to them together and finding Bibi Tanga gel so well with the Thakita Band, one felt the name should have been Bibi Tanga and the Tak-dhimi Band, denoting all four of them, instead of Bibi Tanga and the Thakita Band!