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Sonu Nigam At Ajmer Sharif 12-04-13

Friday, 23 December 2011

Sonu Nigam & I have Got Two More Films Coming Along - Bickram Ghosh

World-renowned percussionist and composer Bickram Ghosh has finished recording a new version of ‘Vande Mataram’ besides wrapping up the music of Bollywood film Jal with Sonu Niigaam. With his maiden project Rhythmscape celebrating its 10th year, the tabla maestro's moving into the experimental space and attempting to do things no one else has so far.

In an exclusive tete-a-tete, the new-age percussionist talks about the new version of 'Vande Mataram', the music of Jal, more albums with Sonu Niigaam, starting ‘Live In…’ series and more..

Let’s start on a patriotic note. You’ve recently recorded a new version of ‘Vande Mataram.’ Can we know more about that?
‘Vande Mataram’ is almost complete. We’re into the mixing stage right now. Only part left is the portion that Sonu Niigaam has to dub. We’ve recorded with about 25 musicians across the world. Yes, it’s been incredibly hectic as well as emotional. And the best part is that everyone who’s come on board has really liked the melody. They feel that it’s a very inspiring version of ‘Vande Mataram’.

What about the palette of singers? Did you already have artistes in mind?

I wanted a good balance between the classical singers, Bollywood singers and instrumentalists. The basic idea was that this needs to be for our generation. So the track and video has artistes from our generation.

On one hand we have Sonu Niigaam, Roopkumar Rathod, Shubha Mudgal, Sunidhi Chauhan, and on the other hand we have Kaushiki, Ajoyda and Rashid. As we went along, we suddenly wondered why we were just sticking to solo singers! Our generation saw the real uprising of the so-called rock bands. So, Indian Ocean and Euphoria came on board.

When you hear the track you’ll see that you’re moving from Ajoy Chakrabarty to Indian Ocean, but the transition is absolutely smooth and without any jerk. It’s a really strong number!

When do you plan on releasing the same?
Once I give in the mix, we will start ideating on the video. It is being directed by Girish Malik (who’s also directing Jal). We’re looking at a January 26, 2012 release

Moving on to Bollywood, how did Jal crystallize into an offer for you?

There’s an album I did with Pete Lockett called Kingdom of Rhythm and Girish was referencing its title track ‘Primal’ for Jal. While cutting Jal to ‘Primal’, it struck him that he wanted to work with me!

We hear that you’ve recorded the title track with Shubha Mudgal. What can we expect from the other tracks on the album?
There are three tracks in the album and what we’ve done with the music is absolutely crazy! Can you imagine we have a duet between Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan and Susanne? It’s an English song interspersed with Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s singing and is called ‘You fill my life’. The third one is called ‘Zaalima,’ a word that Sonu and I coined. It’s a zaalim (cruel) woman (laughs). When you see Jal, you’ll be amazed at how the song is connected to the film.

Your collaboration with Sonu Niigaam on Jal has been making headlines. How did that happen?
Right after Sonu sang for me for a film called Ghumshuda, we did an album called Heart and Beat together. We realized that Sonu-Bickram is an interesting combination. While I primarily write English lyrics, he writes the Hindi ones. But the album is still incomplete because suddenly we were dumped into the Bollywood film space! It’s both good and bad. While we are now venturing in a newer space, we had to put the album on the backburner because of the film’s deadlines.

Interestingly, while we were doing the album together Sonu thought that we should also do film music together. He had some film on his mind, which still hasn’t taken shape. In the meantime, Jal came along and I suggested we kick-start with it.

Anything else coming up from the Bickram-Sonu combination?

Sonu and I have got two more films coming along! Not signed on the dotted line yet but its happening. And we just nailed three songs a couple of days ago.

I think Sonu is incredibly talented. He’s very experimental

Your band Rhythmscape is in its tenth year. How do you think the band has progressed in the last decade?
Rhythmscape is my first love! It’s who I am. That’s the kind of music and sound I believe in. We improvise like crazy on stage. I’m a classical musician and my style is to improvise. But for some other members, who are not classical musicians, it really goes against their grain. So, for them impromptu improvising is a big thing.

We’re much tighter, willing to experiment and improvise, and we are moving into a different space. But the soul of Rhythmscape is absolutely Indian. No compromise there.

What about your music company Melting Pot Productions? How’s that coming along?
Its moving slow because I am very often out of the pot (laughs)! It was a one-man-army kind of scenario. I’ve set up a team of 4-5 people who will now run the company, and hopefully in the next two years we’ll make it much bigger.

Could you share your upcoming musical projects?
Rhythmscape Transformations is coming up in January next year. There’s also an album called Navarasa in the pipeline. I don’t think expressing the nine rasas through rhythm has ever been attempted before. It’s all just drums. Then we have Mortal.

Then there is Tabla Sphere for which I’ve done something that I doubt anyone else has. I’ve done a track called ‘Body drum’ which just includes ‘acapella’ kind of sounds produced from my body. I’ve layered it with my own body sounds. We’ve shot the video about a month ago, so it should be out by February.

Additionally, there’s another potent album called Dragon Fly with Greg Ellis. It’s based on our weird philosophy that everything in this world is about rhythm and not melody.

One of the biggest things I’m doing right now is’ Live In…’ series. I’m curetting 600 shows a year. We’ve already done around 100 fabulous shows in Kolkata and we’re going to Delhi and Mumbai. The idea is to give people the multiplex music experience.

Source: and I have got two more films coming along: Bickram Ghosh&pgno=3

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