Blending two worlds with music

Apr 30, 2014, 02:49 IST | Swapnal Tilekar

Be mesmerised with the blend of two different traditions of music by Adi and Suhail, who will match rhythms of Western Jazz with our sarangi tuned to Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi lyrics, today

Aditya Balani and Suhail Yusuf Khan are two new age musicians from Delhi who believe in experimentation. Since 2002, the duo plays together and since forming their their first band together, they have been famous as Adi and Suhail.

Aditya Balani and Suhail Yusuf Khan
Aditya Balani and Suhail Yusuf Khan  

Balani (lead guitars, back-up vocals and electronics) and Khan (vocals and sarangi) are known for their exotic blend of international Jazz music and ethnic sarangi tunes. They are currently on a five-city tour to launch their latest album, Culture Code Landscape.

Speaking of the album, Balani informs, "We performed at Kasauli and Chandigarh earlier this month and now after Pune, we are touring Mumbai and Delhi. We have performed individually in Pune before but this is our first time as a band here. We will perform all the songs from our latest album — a lyrical blend of Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi that are sung by Suhail."

With their latest album, the band has collaborated with many big names that feature on the national and international music scene. Songs like Naina and Sitaare features artistes like American drummer Isaac Haselkorn, Parikrama's Gaurav Balani, New York-based Sharik Hasan and singer Shilpa Rao.


While we wonder about the unique fusion of Jazz and sarangi, Khan explains, "Our performing together was destined, I guess. We come from a very diverse musical background but our union goes long back when I had heard Aditya singing a song and just started singing with him out of nowhere.

We got goosebumps hearing our sudden jamming that gave birth to a song like Naina. Later on, we formed a band called Incognito but that lasted for four to five gigs only. Continuing, the sarangi player shares, "Then Aditya headed to Boston to study music but when he came back in 2010, we knew that we could bring something as fresh and unique as Jazz and sarangi together.

This was the dawn of our act together." As the leading vocalist of the band, Khan is known for his sarangi-playing skills. Being the grandson of sarangi legend Ustad Sabri Khan and nephew of Kamal Sabri, Khan has consistently pushed limits and has made Classical music exciting and engaging for young fans through his acts.

Though he feels the pressure for the lineage he represents, he is determined to make his own music. "I sometimes do feel the pressure being the grandson of someone who has collaborated with biggies in the international music scene and the nephew of someone who has been a constant performer with Ustad Zakir Hussain.

But rather than feeling pressurised, it keeps me on my toes and encourages me to make my own identity. I love to explore new things being a global citizen. Fortunately, people have liked our fusion blend. This keeps us charged to make new innovative music together," concludes Khan.

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