Music these days is all about experimentation, about crossing over the boundaries of your genre, your style and collaborating with other styles to create a marvellous new kind of music. Fusion bands are a rage these days. But there are fusion bands and then there is Samved. Their music is a blend of classical Indian music with modern electronic music to create a fusion which will leave you spell bound with its soulful feel and refreshing sound. Samved recently got nominated for Radio City’s FreedomAwards from among 700 bands. We went behind the scene to understand how a six month old band has scaled great heights in such a short time!
|Samved (L to R: Kirti Das, Sangeet Mishra, Ritwik Joe, KK, Zeeshan Khan)|
Samved – The Band
Samved is a collaboration, which started in July last year, between performing musicians and friends KK, Zeeshan Khan, Ritwik Joe, Sangeet Mishra and Kirti Das. On the electronic side are KK, a 15 year veteran of the music industry, and Ritwik; Zeeshan, belonging to a famous gharana of classical music, provides the vocals, while Sangeet on the Sarangi and Kirti on the percussions add the classical Hindustani music to Samved’s sound.
The group’s formation began when KK suggested to Ritwik that it would be cool to add classical vocals, that of Zeeshan, to an electronic song that he had composed. The three met, jammed and their group was up and running. However, just classical vocals and electronic music was not their complete idea of Samved. “We wanted to add performing artist’s to the group,” says KK. And that’s how Sangeet and Kirti entered..
“Fusion is still a very empty genre,” says KK, on being asked about their motivation to enter into the genre of fusion. “With electronic music we want to hit the dance section. We don’t want to want to be in the fashion or lounge category. Samved’s music is very upbeat, stylized and a very today’s sound,” he adds.
One of the most important things to ponder upon when forming a fusion band is the kind of instruments that one wants to mix together. “Most of the fusion bands go with Flute and Sitar,” says Ritwik, “We decided that we will go with Sarangi, as the sound of Sarangi goes extremely well with samved’s music,” he further adds. Also Sarangi being a dying instrument, with just 40 odd players in the country, it is their mission to promote this heritage of Indian classical music.
It’s not just their music that has heavy influence of Indian culture. Everything from the name of the band to its symbol has roots in Indian culture. The name samved was Ritwik’s brainchild. “Samved comes from the veda Samved which talks about the power of sound,” says Ritwik.
The First Album – Rlung Ta
Their first album ‘Rlung Ta’ was practically done within a matter of few hours! “Ritwik and I sat together and decided on almost 10 tracks in two hours!” exclaims Zeeshan. The group went online with their first track ‘Love Science’, in January this year and the feedback ever since has been phenomenal. “People from the classical music fraternity keep calling me to praise our efforts for bringing focus on Indian classical music in a better way,” says Zeeshan. In just six months their Facebook page has got a very healthy following, most of whom are hardcore musicians and performing artists.
The biggest mark of appreciation of their music came in the form of nomination for Radio City’s Freedom Awards. Their song ‘Love Science’ was chosen in the 5 nominations for the Best Song Award in the Folk Fusion from among 700 bands. They are vying for the award with the likes of Sonu Kakkar, Shankar Tucker and Vivek Rajagopalan. The guys say that right from the start they were sure about the quality of the music and the nomination has vindicated their self belief. Since the nomination they have been getting calls from random people telling them how much they have been impressed with Samved’s music. “Yaar tera music bahut accha hai, kuch toh naya hai; these are a few things that people have been saying,” says an excited Zeeshan.
The Road Ahead
Samved has so far put up 5 of their 7 songs from the first album, on their Facebook and Youtube page. “We are in talks with a few music labels and we plan to release the album soon,” says KK. Once the album is released they plan to go on all out promotion of the album for the next one year before releasing their next.
However, work on their second album has already begun. “The plan is to take the second album a level higher by featuring new artists, new instruments and vocalists,” says KK. For a few of the songs they have roped in Christie Bourcq, a French actor, dancer and singer to lend western female vocals.
Samved – The Project
Samved’s biggest differentiating factor is the project that they are running alongside their own album. They have got some of the best Indian classical musicians to record video tutorials that will teach people how to splay classical instruments and various raagas. “Our mission is to promote Indian classical music in the best way possible. We have the likes of Imran Khan and Sabir Khan in these videos. The classical music fraternity has showed us great love and support for this project,” says Ritwik. The group will be following this with tutorials on electronic music which will feature renowned international electronic artists. So do keep an eye on this page, if you are a fan of Indian classical or electronic music!
Like we said at the start, Samved is not just a fusion band; it is much more than that. It is a mission to promote Indian classical music; an effort to extend its appeal to the younger generation. Through their project they are trying to spread the knowledge of classical music to a wide audience and they hope it will inspire people to take up classical music. “If through these videos even one person stands up says that I want to learn Sarangi, then I will feel that my mission is complete!” says Ritwik.