Estas Tonne is an enigmatic musician known for his exceptional guitar style.He aims to spread the message of the new consciousness and paradigm through his music
He was born and brought up in the former Soviet Union. He studied classical music at a local music school. For a brief period he discontinued playing the guitar but eventually, he picked up the instrument and never put it down again.
He has been involved in different projects related to films and theatre.
It’s been said by many that watching and listening to him play live is an experience worth having.
Who are your musical influences?
The hundreds of thousands of sounds we hear each day. Countless songs we have heard somewhere, even if it exists as a brief memory.
How would you describe your music to the world? What is the image you want your music to shape into and convey to the world?
World Music. This has been a major question from concert promoters and festivals.
When we give a name to something it becomes “that” something.I feel that best would be just to continue this adventure of life and music and see what it will turn out to be, or already is.
What are your songs about? Does each album carry a different theme/story or is each a continuation of the previous album(s).
It’s an experience, for a listener as for a musician.It’s a different experience though, there is a sharing space where we don’t have to give a name to it. Just being, just listening, just playing.
Each album is a demo that has been recorded live which means, walking into a studio and playing it the way it feels in that moment…
And then later it changes, giving birth to new melodies and songs. Each has a story, a life,a characterand they grow and evolve from year to year.
Some of them I re-recorded later just because they were calling to be recorded in this ”NEW NOW”.
What is it about this particular kind of music that makes it different from other types for you?
Each of us are different, each of us carry a song, a sound of our soul.
I didn’t try to be different by playing some sort of “different” music. It just happened naturally and within this “being different” is also the same as everything else.
How did the nom-de-plume “Gypsy Troubadour/Troubadour” pick up? Also, since gypsy music originally was to tell stories through music, do you plan on adding lyrics to your music in the future?
Telling a story through music that has no lyrical story and this is one of the qualities of expression. A listener can create and co-create their own story without a storyteller saying anything. But i do experiment with songs, poems and stories.
Some of them are not important anymore and some of them come when they wish
Just like the Gypsy Troubadour Story came when it was the right moment to comeand people recognized this quality of a character. Like I said earlier,
when we give a name to something it becomes “that” something.
Tell me about your first live performance. Where and how did it go?
First of the first was around age of 8 while I was learning how to play guitar.
But the one that changed my life was in New York in 2002. I went there one week after September the 11th.
With no guitar and no idea that I was going to play music at all. I had some dreams to make films and slowly starting a new life in United States. Then, after a while a friend gave me a present, a beautiful guitar which I took all over NY city and approached a street musician to play with him.
He was already an established violin virtuoso and had been very sceptical about this kind of approach as I had a very immature look.
But when I saw him again in a train, he smiled and asked me how many stations I still have to go and then asked if I was ready to playright THEN and THERE in the wagon full of people going home from work.
It looked like calling and we did it. I didn’t know much to playas I as taken a very long break from music then but there was one piece that i did remember and we played it and we got great encouragement and applause from people.
It became our music journey together
You’ve already collaborated with artists before from all over the world. Do you plan on collaborating with any Indian artist in the future?
I’ve been coming to India since 2008 and have been playing with lots of musicians from India and I’m always open to new collaborations when the moment comes.
The idea to record and perform with Indians or other musicians is always there, great ideas can change the world.
What advice would you give to those who experiment with the same genre?
I feel that it’s not about same genre but more like same feeling. Some calling it duende, passion,fire,magic. All of us have it. The only advice I can give is to be yourself and play what your heart wishes you to play. The melody that wants to be played from within without thinking or calculating or copying. We can have an inspiration from so many artists, they can give us a spark and after that, it’s up to us.
Tell me about the influence Django Reinhardt has had on you.
I didn’t play music for more than 10 years and one day I heard a sound that turned everything upside down. It was someone playing gypsy swingbut it was not Django. I just recognized the sound that I already knew, somewhere somehow I has heard it beforeand when Django’s name appeared it was like a very strong calling to play music again. I still don’t play Djangobut he has been a very important character in my personal story.
What is it about Paris that made such an impact on you?
Montmartre, Romantica..in the best sense of it. In the olden days it used to be a very artistic place where poetry, music and art were the air of the place. Of course things changed and now it’s a touristic location as all of Paris is but some sort of this old energy is still in the air and of course whatever we wish to see we might find not only in Paris but anywhere.
Tell me about the film projects you’ve been involved in. What kind of films does your interest lie in? Any particular message you want to send out through these film projects? Does this message differ from the message you want to send out through your music in any way?
Last year I was involved in 2 wonderful projects that are still in the making: first is a short film called “Elemental” based on a story that we collectively created in India 3 years ago. It is the story of a transformation. Peter Moor a wonderful poet and a writer has been writing and weaving his ideas in to it, Storia, a very talented lyricist and singer has been writing lots of songs for it and I’ve been composing instrumental pieces. We are all acting in it along with other characters and a protagonist of the story is Pierrick St.Pierre (Mr.Banana) a wonderful Canadian performer, mime, clown and a beautiful being. He has performed in more than 40 countries around the globe doing it on his own, living the life of a transformation. And indeed it is “our” story, it’s everybody’s story and we are all part of this new consciousness.
Another film that is much bigger and has been longer in the making called “Time of the 6th Sun” by Nikki Williams, a British film director who has been going around the world for the last 7 years capturing this new energy on the planet, this process of awakening, interviewing lots of truly amazing people, envisioning what it means to be awake in this reality and seeing beyond 2012.In her film this Troubadour is the wondering musician who is on his path and perhaps, he is just a reflection of us allbecause we are somehow all in this process of shedding our old skin to become a new!
How has your experience been in India? Have you played/do you plan on playing here anytime soon?
I come to India mostly to relax and enjoy this wonderful land where everything is possible. Each year is has been mainly Goa and Dharamsala in the north.
But I am open for new collaborations to come and possibilities. Indeed, everything is possible.
What are your future music/film projects going to be like? Are you open to experimenting with a different style of guitar or do you plan on sticking to the same?
At the moment I am experimenting with the electronic sound of a guitar, basically using some pedals that create an electronic sound which has another dimension to sound in itself and I follow that same feeling which is an indicator of all I do now, find joy. When there is joy in anything you do, that is the way to go and I take that pathand that’s what I am here for, pure joy.
What are your views about Emaho?
I think it’s close to a “marvellous realization” and that somehow reminds me of that same feeling of being close to some grandioso invention or discovery or remembrance or awakening and perhaps it is all of it. Something we are all experiencing while “waiting for something”. But, there is nothing to wait for because, WE ARE THE REALIZATION. We are the readers and the writers of it. Wonderful direction you guys have taken this magazine towards. Keep going!
Interviewed by: Mythili Chandrasekhar
For more and more interesting updates, follow us at our twitter handle- Emaho Magazine on Twitter