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Press Release |  01 Feb 2016 16:24 |  By RnMTeam

Karsh Kale to release new album 'Up', amidst Jan-Feb tour

Karsh Kale

MUMBAI – Producer and genre-bending collaborator Karsh Kale releases his fifth studio album- 'UP' - on January 29. New York-based musician and producer goes back to his roots in an album that features guitarist Warren Mendonsa, singers Benny Dayal, Ankur Tewari, long-time collaborators flautist Pt Ajay Prasanna and producer Grain among others; to launch five-city tour through January & February

His new album 'UP' is inspired by his life over the past few years, and chronicles the myriad transformations he underwent as an artist who had to keep reinventing the wheel while staying steadfast to his sound. This 11-track album also sees Karsh go back to his roots, to the music that inspired him to become a musician. 

'UP' will be released on Times Music in India and Six Degrees Records (around the world) and on iTunes on January 29.

'UP' the album

His last release, 'Cinema' (2011) came out just as the indie scene in India picked up and that propelled Karsh into the centre of what became India’s indie revolution. As Karsh continued to divide his time between Brooklyn – where he was a father and an established musician, and  Mumbai – where he was hosting TV shows and headlining festivals with the Karsh Kale Collective – the constant friction of the two worlds gave rise to the idea of UP.

“Within the stress of that constant commute between two very different worlds, I found the sound and the inspiration for what UP was going to be about,” says Karsh about his new album. “The album is the soundtrack of these moments, the rising and falling, the flying and crashing and the transformations of self that became almost a weekly affair for me.  As an artist I was not being brought over to simply do the same thing over and over, but rather, each trip called upon a new transformation.  I was performing live at festivals with the Karsh Kale Collective as well as performing classical fusion concerts, performing and collaborating on TV shows and dropping the occasional DJ set which makes for some ever changing environments, inspirations and collaborators,” he adds.

The music on UP is quintessential Karsh Kale, and encapsulates his philosophy towards making music – not bound by a genre – and making music with people that share his vision. It’s reflective and contemplative but also atmospheric. 

For the album, Kale searched backwards to his musical influences – like Shakti and Led Zeppelin – and focused on making music that transcends boundaries and creates doorways between styles, cultures and music as opposed to fit snuggly within any particular genre.

On UP, he has worked with phenomenal musicians from India and across the globe. There’s Warren Mendonsa, who has been working and collaborating with Karsh since 2011, drummer Jai Row Kavi, singer Benny Dayal and producer Jayant Luthra, vocalists Monali Thakur,  Ankur Tewari, Ankita Joshi as well as musicians like Sabir Khan, son of sarangi virtuoso Sultan Khan, Papon, Salim Merchant, sitar player Ravi Chary as well as his long-time collaborators, bansuri genius Pt Ajay Prasanna and producer Gaurav Raina.

In the US, Karsh worked with guitarist and songwriter John Shannon, dulcimer virtuoso Max ZT, vocalist Priya Darshini, bass virtuoso Tony Grey and Alam Khan on sarod.

Mendonsa’s guitar is the perfect accompaniment to Karsh’s signature tabla. Like on the title track, ‘Up’, where Karsh has sung in English – one of the few times in his career. Similar in theme to ‘Up’ – transformation – ‘Shiva’ is yet another exceptional example of Karsh fusing two distinct sounds – a Carnatic melody with the piano and guitar.  As is ‘Thin Line of Blue’, where the flute, tabla and guitar are entangled in a melancholic tango.

One of the most distinctive tracks on the album is ‘Play’, a song by Chinese pop sensation Sa Ding Ding, who sings in Chinese, Mandarin and occasionally her own invented language. It’s the most electronic, experimental cut on this record, and features a different mix of the track from her album 'Butterfly Dream', one that Karsh produced in 2015.

“My goal with UP was to try and encompass all that I had been doing as an artist over the past few years into one thematic journey. In the end, the idea of genre and keeping one in mind while creating has always proven to be detrimental to me as I realized that I simply should stick to my guns and make music that truly inspires me,” Karsh explains the rationale behind the album.

UP tour: January-February

Karsh Kale Collective featuring Warren Mendonsa, Jayant Luthra, Pt Ajay Prasanna, Apeksha Dandekar and Karsh will perform at following festivals across India to promote the new album -

Outlawed (NUJS) - Kolkata - 5 Feb

The Great Indian Golchakkar Festival (JLN Stadium) - Delhi - 7 Feb

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival - Mumba- - 13 Feb

The Lost Party - Saltar Lake, Sahyadris - 28 Feb