Taken from The Hindu (Aug 17, 2017)
Redefining the state of sound
Tabla exponent Karsh Kale joins hands with two virtuoso musicians for a weekend of global fusion music
by Allan Moses Rodricks
India’s tryst with fusion has been an ancient practice. We’ve dabbled expertly in the genre with the vast repertoire of styles and traditions we richly possess – so much so that the world has taken note of our professional approach to blending music. Easily at the helm of this artistic venture is a man who dons many roles – from table player, drummer and DJ/remix artiste to vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and film composer – Karsh Kale. Known as a visionary composer and the pioneer of global fusion, the musician has taken the country’s music to new heights as a genre-bending collaborator constantly pushing the boundaries of sound.
And so when the illustrious composer teams up with two virtuoso musicians at Windmills Craftworks this weekend, this is one gig for the record. Catching up before he comes to the city, Karsh talks about this collaboration, his career and the road ahead.
While playing in Bengaluru is nothing new to Karsh, he admits that each time he walks into a venue in India, “I walk in without preconceived notions. And the fans always surprise me by reacting positively, energetically and are willing to go on the journey that I like to take them with my music. That experience has been the best for me in Bengaluru!”
For this gig, Karsh says “The audience can expect a lot of Asian sounds, bass–heavy tracks and some surprise jams courtesy the musicians I am privileged to share the stage with – Blackstratblues aka Warren Mendonsa on the guitar and Pt Ajay Prasanna on the flute.” When asked what’s special in the set list, Karsh wittily remarks: “You'll just have to show up and see for yourself.” Elaborating on the team-up with the two maestros, the tabla exponent fondly says working with these stalwarts has always been an honour. “I met Warren when we curated the first finale set for the NH7 Weekender in Pune in 2011 and ever since he has been a mainstay in all my live sets and music that I’ve released. His abilities as a musician, composer and songwriter are what make him extremely special to work with. Ajay is a bansuri legend. His abilities to swing across genres, while staying true to the sound and style of his roots has always made playing with him a complete treat. He is probably one of the only musicians who has been a part of every single album I’ve released from 2001’s Realize right up till my last one UP.”
So when the trio come together on stage, what’s at the heart of the collaboration? Karsh says: “The experience and chemistry that we have shared over the years both on and off stage comes together in a unified style and sonic identity where space and ability are all given equal stature.”
With a long and illustrious musical career spanning over 20 years, Karsh says: “It’s been an interesting and fulfilling journey to write and share what I feel through my music. For me, my music has been my outlet to let the world know everything about the experiences I am having as a person.”
Elaborating on the journey ahead, he says he has his hands full. “I am currently working on a documentary, a background score, an album with Aman and Ayaan Ali Khan and my own album!” Is it a good time to be a musician in India? Karsh says a resounding yes. “It's always a good time to be a musician. It's important to find your voice through your music.” He follows up with a parting word of encouragement for aspiring musicians: “Stay true, work hard and trust your judgement.”