A song for the new age

Jun 15, 2014, 07:21 IST | Deepali Dhingra

Sarod players Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan have collaborated with singer Devika Chawla for a single that blends the classical and the modern. Deepali Dhingra tunes in

For a collaboration to take place and then to become a success, there is one thing that needs to be in place. All the musicians have to be in sync with each other. And once that condition is fulfilled, everything else just falls in place. Just the way, it fell in place for sarod players and brothers Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan and vocalist Devika Chawla. 

The brothers, who have been friends with San-Francisco-based Devika, who is known for her beautiful numbers such as Kehnde Ne Naina and Barkha Bahaar, for many years, have been planning a collaboration with her for many years, but it all came together recently and the result? A beautiful single titled Holle Holle, which brings together Devika’s soulful voice and Amaan and Ayaan’s sarod performance.

Amaan Ali Khan, Ayaan Ali Khan and Devika Chawla in the music video of their new single Holle Holle

Ayaan, who finds Devika’s voice texture very appealing, says that they had been planning to work with her for quite some time, but they didn’t want to jam together without a concept in mind. “Recently, when we were touring the US, we had a week’s time and decided to utilise it and brainstormed on the song with her. She came up with some beautiful lyrics, and the composition too developed well and that was it,”
he recalls.

Devika elaborates on the song-process. “We made sure to capture what we had come up with on my iPhone so that we wouldn’t forget what we had improvised, and quickly booked the studio in San Francisco to record. After the initial recording, we iterated on the track for a while across the world. I would send enhancements to Amaan and Ayaan and they would record further and we continued this creative process until we were all happy with it,” she says. Describing the single as a classically inspired new age track, she adds that what she loves most about it is that it is all about improvisation and fusion of their different styles, and letting those styles flow and come together naturally. “It is an interplay of apparent contrasts — soulful yet uplifting, classical yet modern,” says the singer.

Both Devika and the duo of Amaan and Amaan have done their share of collaborations with other artistes, and believe that it is one of the best ways of expanding their musical horizons. “As an artiste, I enjoy the challenge of creating music by fusing sounds and styles that have not been traditionally brought together,” says Devika. Ayaan adds that going by the current trend, they decided to release the single on digital platforms and Holle Holle is available on platforms including Apple iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and more. “Eventually, we’re looking at it as a track that would reach out not only to listeners in India but also lovers of music from all over the world,” says the instrumentalist, who’s also sung a few alaaps in the song.

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