Monday, June 27, 2022

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Finding a taal between classical and fusion

New Delhi, May 29, 2022- On one hand, his tabla has accompanied classical masters like Ajay Pohanka, Abhijit Pohankar and Ghazal maestros like Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali, while on the other, Amit Choubey is equally comfortable performing with the likes of Trilok Gurtu, Ranjit Barot and Taufiq Qureshi.

For Choubey, who started learning tabla at the age of seven under Pt. Shri Karodilal Bhatt and formed the popular band Raga Tronics, straddling the two worlds has its own charm. “I have always been attending live concerts by the Shakti Band, John McLaughlin and Shankar Mahadevan. That is where my interest in fusion music took seed. I knew that forming a fusion band would be the best outlet for the diverse music I wanted to make. You will find that our tracks are Indian Classical Raga based with modern electronic sounds,” he tells.

While things are not really rosy for most independent bands, Raga-Tronics, which combines elements of Indian Classical Raga, Sufi and Folk music with modern Electronica sound and modern Percussion has been doing quite well — getting enough shows, sponsorships and concerts. “Yes, I feel blessed that people have started liking and supporting our independent music. The audience is growing,” he smiles.

Stressing that his training in classical has been instrumental inmaking his fusion work, the tabla player says that the former laid a solid foundation and helped him evolve musically. “And for I am thankful to my gurus including Pt.K L Bhatt, Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pt Yogesh Samsi who have always guided me.”

Even though many purists continue to criticize fusion, Choubey does not let that affect him. “I always strive to give the best to my audience. There could be times when someone would have not liked my music, but then that is not in my control. I try to give my best in every performance.”

Though missing the many live performances during pre-Covid times, the artist seems to have adjusted to the reality of digital concerts. “They are the need of the hour when live performances are yet to come back in full form,” he says.

The artist, who was part of the recent ‘HCL Concerts Baithak’ feels that the company is doing excellent work in promoting Indian Classical art forms and independent music by presenting it to the music aficionados both digitally and through in-person concerts.

“As musicians, we all need the support of corporates to help and promote Indian art and music,” concludes Choubey, whose band is working on a new album that will release in December.  (Agency)

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