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News |  16 Dec 2016 19:20 |  By RnMTeam

When Shankar Mahadevan met Berklee Indian Ensemble

MUMBAI: The leading Indian classical musician Shankar Mahadevan who became the artist in residence at The Berklee Indian Ensemble, performed at Berklee Signature Series concert, on Tuesday, 13 December 2016 at the Berklee Performance Center.

Radioandmusic.com got the chance to have a conversation with the ace singer where he spoke about him becoming the artist-in-residence at Berklee Indian ensemble, the students’ expertise, and how it helped to expand his musical horizons.

On asking about his feeling about this, Mahadevan said, “This year they chose to invite me as they felt my music is substantial enough and covers a lot of genres. The concept was innovative as they arranged my music and presented to me where I performed along with some of the students who are currently studying there. It was definitely a matter of honour”.

Every year Berklee College of Music, which is one of the prestigious music school in the whole world invites various notable musicians from countries such as AR. Rahman, Pat Metheny, John Mayer and more.

“In this kind of collaboration, what you understand is how deep Indian music is aesthetically. You can value the melodic aspect rhythm aspect and more technical details about Indian Music. The students who are learning western classical rock music at Berklee College of Music, for them this became a platform, which can increase their knowledge and expand their musical horizons,” said Mahadevan.

He also said this is a revelation not only for Indian musicians or western musicians but also for those who came to see them performing live. What they experienced that was ‘fresh’, the way music tabs barriers and can flow with anything.

Berklee Indian Ensemble, which was founded in 2011 with 18 students, now is a dynamic group of students representing more than 40 countries. Mahadevan said that the students have done a lot of homework before the concert, and they have been working for the concert since last one year.

“They put together pieces of my work, which I have done in my lifetime including film music, classical, folk, numbers from Tamil films, Carnatic classical, fusion pieces, rhythmic pieces, breathless and more. The way they have researched on my journey as a musician and picked out my works as they felt that is worthwhile doing that is an epitome of excellence. They put together a song list and I was just there, performed with them, and discovered my way to keep up with the musicians who are truly a spirit of brilliance.

Shankar Mahadevan believes that this association will help to grow the nature of Indian music overseas. He also added it has nothing to do with the fanbase, as beyond one point of time that should not be the focus for a musician to look forward.

While talking about the concert Mahadevan said that they arranged everything brilliantly and they mastered it. “Some of the things they have done better than me too. They accompanied me in my songs and it was a truly enriching experience. I have learned a lot myself; it was as educational for me and for them as well”, added he.

In addition, he said he was very excited before the performance, as he had never done a concert before where he had performed his songs covering all genres. While talking about his various collaborations, he said no matter what, be it a famous singer from Bollywood or a rural folk singer from Maharashtra, every collaboration has its significance.

“However, something that taught me a lot is the band Shakti where we collaborated with V. Selvaganesh, Late mandolin player U. Shrinivas, English guitar player John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain. That was the music of highest calibre,” he signs off.