Tea + a Chat with Balladeste

Preetha Narayanan, one half of the duo Balladeste, chats to us about anagrams, collaboration and the creative process, and points us in the direction of three great artists in her circle. Balladeste play Tea + a Gig on Tuesday 4th April.

Tell us about yourselves

We are a string duo, Tara Franks on cello and Preetha Narayanan on violin, exploring the versatility and sound potential of just two string instruments as a band.

Where does the name Balladeste come from?

It's actually a funny story and inside joke. A signature treat of mine is that I often bring to rehearsals are called "date balls" and so a friend of the duo proposed Balladeste as an anagram of that! But i like to imagine that there are other threads of meaning in it, like "ballad" or bailar in Spanish to dance:-) 

Balladeste consists of two of the three members of Quest Ensemble. How different is the creative process between a duo and a trio? 

The dynamic of creating changes drastically with different numbers of people, so with just two, it is sometimes easier to manage similarities and differences in taste. In our case, we are both stringed instruments so that also affects the types of ideas and sounds we may create and how certain elements of an idea are familiar to the other. 

The trio adds another challenge and excitement though with the piano and the addition of a strong compositional skill set from a third member.  

You have collaborated quite a bit with visual artists and dancers including Lucy Steggals,  Somang Lee, and Ruth Pethybridge. What is the extra dimension that these collaborations bring to an audience? 

Although an audience member can watch us interact on stage and witness the physicality we have with our instruments, the medium of music is still abstract and aural. So it's always exciting to explore how the music can be married to a different art form that conjures up a different sense and at times could be more tangible.

Your debut EP comes out later this year. What can you tell us about it?

Our writing together began with an explorative, joyous motivation so the music reflects this beginning search for a duo identity. The EP is a celebration of our mutual resonance and we hope it will bring the same joy to the listener and introduce them to an innovative sound. 

How did you come to know about SoundsCreative Projects? (we think we might know the answer to this one….)

Lucky that Tara has introduced … me to her creative baby, SoundsCreative, and brought much meaning to our practices through it.   

At SCP we believe in connections. Can you connect us to 3 great artists we should know about?

We are lucky to be surrounded by friends who are inspiring artists and musicians. 

Priya Sundram (www.priyasundram.com), London-based illustrator has established a company called Studio Carrom with http://www.studiocarrom.com/ Bangalore based artist Nia Thandapani. I love their work!

Jasdeep Singh Degun (https://www.jasdeepsinghdegun.com/) an up and coming sitarist/composer that Tara and I recently worked with. Look forward to seeing where he takes his future composition as he explores the spaces between Western and Indian Classical music.

Jose Agudo. (www.joseagudo.co.uk) choreographer and dancer who is about to premiere his new dance company and project in May! His energy is contagious.