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News |  06 Oct 2023 15:20 |  By RnMTeam

Vocal sensation Abby V and Grammy Award-winning composer Ricky Kej release ‘Ghule’ ft Sona Mohapatra

MUMBAI: Toronto-based singer and social media sensation Abby V and multiple Grammy Award winner composer-producer Ricky Kej have over the last three years formed a friendship and a way of collaborating that yields musical magic in the form of Aarambh.

Listen to ‘Ghule’ here

Aarambh, a full-length album for the UK-based, South Asian-focused music media platform Sufiscore, finds Abby lending his extraordinary voice to a vibrant set of Kej compositions. The first of which – ‘Ghule’ featuring Bollywood vocalist Sona Mohapatra – releases on October 6. Also joining V on this album, which merges Indian classical music, electronica, strings, beat-based ambient music and other genres, is a star-studded roster of Indian vocalists to share in beautiful duets with the leading man.

“The heart of the album is traditional Indian classical music,” says the Bangalore-based Kej. “But the instrumentation is very modern — it’s in a palette that will appeal to people who listen to many kinds of music. We’re taking Indian classical music to listeners that would not normally listen to it.”

“I love experimenting with a lot of traditional forms of music and presenting them in new ways,” Abby adds. “Music, including classical, is constantly evolving. I’ve always been taught to embrace these changes and expand the boundaries of creativity, and that’s exactly what we’ve attempted with this project. The beauty of it is that Ricky can bring all these elements together so beautifully and concisely. I’m so incredibly proud that we achieved this.”

‘Ghule’ is a special track for both Abby and Kej. For it represents what the album stands for – an amalgamation of different artforms, different styles of singing, production, language and singers of different vocal abilities.

“The composition is an absolute masterpiece by Ricky,” says Abby – whose rendition of 73 ragas went viral on YouTube – adding, “He is so well known across the world and his accomplishments are varied. But what's special about ‘Ghule’ is that it's one of the most intense raga-based songs he has done. And in fact, this was the first song he sent me from the album. The moment I heard it, I was hooked.”

The decision to ask Sona Mohapatra to sing on ‘Ghule’ was the most obvious decision, given that the song is based on raag Puriya Dhanashri, an ancient raag that’s quite intense. Much like Sona’s voice. “Sona has a very rooted, full-throated voice,” says Abby of his co-singer. “It’s a very Indian voice, very unique. That’s what the song is about. It’s a very unique raag peculiar to South Asian music and Sona’s strong voice was the perfect choice. She brings in that folk, old Hindi flavour while I come in with the tarana-taanam and aalaap.”

“Sona has a strong pop identity and sings a lot of Indian folk melodies — her voice is extremely recognizable to a lot of people,” says Kej of her. “A lot of the songs are based on the Bandish style,” he explains, adding “a form of classical music with repetitive phrases and very romantic language in an older Hindi dialect.”

‘Ghule’ is available on all streaming platforms and Aarambh will release on November 24 on Sufiscore.

Sufiscore is 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.

In addition to the work of Abby V and Ricky Kej, Sufiscore has released such albums as Inheritance by vocalist Pratibha Singh and Unbounded – Abaad by sitar virtuoso Purbayan Chatterjee, who is joined by Singh as well as Béla Fleck, Gary Husband, Jordan Rudess, Zakir Hussain, Antonio Sanchez and more.