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Tuesday, 3 January 2012
Sonu Nigam & Bickram Ghosh In 2012!
The year 2011 saw the rise of independent acts. The percussionist Bickram Ghosh talks to Shana Maria Verghis about how it affects him. One of his new projects, involves a rising star, the Scottish vocalist, Rachel Sermanni
Haven’t had a New Year resolution for years,” remarked the tabla master Bickram Ghosh. He is jump starting the year 2012, with a unique collaboration at the British Council on January 5.
Him on a multi-percussion set, with two very different vocalists. One of them is the Assamese singer Papon, who has a distinctive style of his own.
And there is Rachel Sermanni, a young (barely 20-year-old), Scottish singer, who writes and sings. She has worked, what is more, with one of 2011s nu-Brit acts, Mumford and Sons.
The trio, who perform under the name, Troikala, were put together by Sony Music. And an album is already in the offing.
Ghosh explained that for him personally, the show will be “an audacious blend of artistes.” And that, “Everyone was so chilled about moving into other spaces, that it made things very easy.”
Rachel, he described as “a beautiful vocalist.” As for him, “I’ve never done done anything connected with Scottish folk before. But Rachel wrote a song called, What Is Waiting, before she had arrived in India. And I did the melody for it. In a matter of four or five days, we were in the studio recording.”
As for Papon and him, he remarked, “With us, it is more like spiritual expression. We try to weave stories into what we are doing. I moved from using tabla in the centre space, to multi-percussion.”
He explained, “I’m not playing the way I normally do on stage here. I stand, and play across various instruments. So the sound is more important than content. The soundscaping becomes different.”
Ghosh went on, “This means that instead of creating a specific tihai, as one would with tabla, I have some fun with various sounds. And it is all totally unchartered territory. So one is completely free to interpret.” With tabla, which has a unique personality, he said, “One brings on board a strong centre.”
The percussionist wrapped another music project involving the Vande Mataram. And also has “three films with Sonu Nigam, along with two Bengali ones.” Nigam and he were working on a music project about two years ago. Then the film came along. He said, “I am not bullshitting. But we did have lots of chemistry. And then various films happened. After that, he said we could compose together.”
During the December just over, Ghosh and Rituparno Ghosh the film director, collaborated on a Jana Gana Mana project, he said, “Marked the hundredth year of the National Anthem.” Ghosh also shared that, “December 27 in 1911, was the first time when the anthem was performed in a public space. We held a musical at the Town Hall in Kolkata.” It was apparently a very lavish production.
Last year was major for a surge in independent Indian artistes. Particularly in the global music field.
A trend that was egged on by the internet. Ghosh commented, “That is the best news for me. Since it is my space. I predicted it would happen. And things would get even better. As people get familiar with sounds that are not from Bollywood.” Young people he remarked, “Are listening to Bollywood. But they are also listening to great international music alongside. This raises standards of listening.”
He concluded, “That is why Midival Punditz or a Karsh Kale gets to figure in Bollywood. I cannot predict how long this trend will continue. But the good thing, is that it will train the ear, to cue into the background music. And after that, the instrumentalist will become just as important as the vocalist.”