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News |  03 Feb 2022 18:43 |  By RnMTeam

Music video for Khula Asmaan from sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee's star-studded album unbounded- Abaad out now via Sufiscore

MUMBAI: Songs full of spirit, with musicians from India, Afghanistan, the US and UK, merging local flavors of Latin, jazz, folk, country, Sufi tradition, Western and Hindustani classical music

Scintillating performances from global masters including Zakir Hussain, V. Selvaganesh,
U. Rajesh, Shankar Mahadevan, Béla Fleck, Gary Husband, Jordan Rudess, Antonio Sanchez, Thana Alexa, Deepak Pandit, Rashid Khan, Anat Cohen, Michael League and more

Available now from groundbreaking UK-based imprint Sufiscore
(“shining a light on South Asian music”)

Heir to a Hindustani classical lineage passed down from his father Partha Chatterjee (and his father’s teacher Pandit Nikhil Banerjee), virtuoso sitarist Purbayan Chatterjee is thrilled to share Unbounded - Abaad, his new album from the UK-based, South Asian-focused music media platform Sufiscore. The album reflects not only Chatterjee’s mastery of his native musical tongue but also what he calls “his love story with jazz” and his inquisitive approach to music of all kinds, blending a wealth of colors from master musicians around the world. “I’m trying to create a sound that appeals to the greater diaspora,” Chatterjee says, “incorporating the nuances of Western harmony along with the embellishments and ornaments of Indian music in terms of my playing, my phrasing, my thinking.”

Joining him in this endeavor are musicians of the highest caliber with a likeminded global sensibility, including banjo pioneer Béla Fleck (whose duo work with the late Chick Corea was formative for Chatterjee); keyboardist Jordan Rudess of the progressive metal band Dream Theater; longtime Pat Metheny drummer Antonio Sanchez; Snarky Puppy bassist and founder Michael League; and acclaimed jazz clarinetist Anat Cohen.

Among the eminent Indian musicians featured are Ustad Zakir Hussain (tabla), V. Selvaganesh (kanjira) and Shankar Mahadevan (vocals), all of whom worked with the great John McLaughlin in his innovative acoustic fusion project Shakti. “I think to a lot of Indian listeners, Shakti is the first door through which we see cross-cultural collaborative music,” Chatterjee maintains. “As crossover musicians we revere Shakti because of the way John Ji explored the Carnatic tradition and beautifully found a harmonic context to it. Zakir bhai [brother] also embodies that bridge, much like Pandit Ravi Shankar did in the ’60s and ’70s. He’s been a mentor and esteemed colleague. You hear so many elements of Latin percussion in the way he plays the tabla, in addition to the North and South Indian traditions.”

Though Chatterjee composed the songs, each one enfolds the ideas and personalities of various co-collaborators along the way. Many others appear as special guests — ace session players who fulfilled a highly important role. “Khula Asmaan — Firmament,” with lyrics by Pinky Poonawala sung by the Indian master Javed Ali, combines Rudess’ dizzying keyboards and Guy Bernfeld’s electric bass with the animated world percussion of Taufiq Qureshi, the drumming of Darshan Doshi and the guitar and flute of Rickraj and Paras Nath respectively. This complex prog-rock whirlwind, inspired by the traditions of Sufi Islam, is “a cross between a classical bandish [fixed melodic composition] and a Sufi kalam [devotional song],” Chatterjee notes.

The album was mixed by Aditya Srinivasan at Seven Heaven Studios, mastered by Christian Wright at Abbey Road Studios in London and mixed for Dolby Atmos by Sethuraman Kuppaiyandi, again at Seven Heaven. The album art, by Aniruddh Mehta, evokes an imaginary space or sacred room, similar to how each song contains layers of intricacies. The patterns themselves are inspired from traditional Indian weaves and tilework, while the globe in the center reiterates the worldwide collaboration process.

In all, Unbounded - Abaad showcases “six different kinds of music from our subcontinent, brought into close contact with six different styles from jazz and other realms,” Chatterjee concludes. “Improvisation is the most common connection point. The language of music can take you from one realm to the other — to feel that sense of being ‘looked after,’ essentially. Through it you’re finding a mode of communication with a greater energy, a common energy that binds us all together.” In this way, Unbounded - Abaad is an emblematic sophomore release from Sufiscore: not just a traditional label but a YouTube channel amassing millions of views of songs from the Asian and South Asian markets. By celebrating new creative processes with leading musicians adapting to adversity as they continue to explore global fusion, Sufiscore is opening doors to international collaborations wherever musicians are in the world. Through live-syncing, remote recording and other practices, Sufiscore seeks to usher in new ways of making and consuming music online.

Purbayan Chatterjee says “Having Jordan Rudess on a Sufi song was in itself a novelty. I felt the blissful energy of Sufi would go with the pulse of a prog-rock sound. Javed Ali is seen in a classical Sufi Avataar and he’s rendered not only the song but sargams too… Taufiq Qureshis rhythm arrangements are as exotic as they are unique- everything from his signature breath Percussions to the Latin American Bataiyo that he’s used for the song”

Javed Ali says "I feel privileged to be a part of this project (Unbounded-Abaad) and have tremendous appreciation for Purbayan on how he brought so many musicians together. When I entered the studio to record this song, I was left amazed by how beautifully this song has been composed and I felt that this song is important for me because it's genre and style is so different and I had the opportunity to explore that part of me. Not only do I feel that all artists and musicians who have contributed are complete but the song itself is perfect as you can find Layakari and Sargam along with the mention of Maula"