Singer Hariharan and tabla maestro 
Bickram Ghosh get candid about their collaboration

The album, Ishq — Song of Love, the musical collaboration between singer Hariharan and tabla exponent Bickram Ghosh has finally released. The album, which was conceptualised during the Covid-19 pandemic, consists of mesmerising soundtracks depicting myriad shades of love. And, the story behind Hariharan and Bickram coming together is quite interesting.

Four years ago, Bickram had sent Hariharan a track for an antara. Hariharan worked on it and sent it back during the Covid-19 pandemic, with six other tracks. And, that is what brought the duo together. Needless to say, Hariharan took the song to another level. The album was then shot in Kolkata and completed in a span of five months.

“I heard his song and instantly felt that it had a beautiful scent of the traditional Indian music. Indianness, the colour of sur was embedded into a wonderful love story in the song,” Hariharan said.

Sharing his experience of composing the album with Hariharan, Bickram said, “Hariji is the first person I contacted for this album. I had composed the songs keeping him in mind because he is the king of all kinds when it comes to singing. There is a certain kind of gayeki [singing] in Hariji’s songs that is very mellifluous and has modulatory notes that are very rare today. We belong to a generation and aesthetic sensibility, which prefers the modulatory note. It wasn’t tough to match his spirit, and as a tabla player I completely took a back seat in this album.”

Hariharan, on the other hand, compared Bickram’s composition to that of a swing. “My song is a jo tabale ke jhule par baitha kar unhone [Bickram] gavaya hai. He has given it a beautiful cushion, because of which the lyrics and vocals came out spectacularly. If you remove that taal, maja nahi aayega,” Hariharan added.

Speaking about the revival of melodious numbers in Hindi music, Hariharan said there are songs about love everywhere and kids today like listening to them. The lyrics and the feel of the song might be different these days, but the craze is still intact. “Any kind of music that imparts happiness is good music,” he added.

Echoing similar sentiments, Bickram added, “Just before the Covid-19 hit, I had performed at an event held at NH. The kids heard my old songs with a big smile on their faces. It felt as if they were hearing it for the first time. I even sang ghazals, sufi and fusion tracks.”

Before signing off, Hariharan stressed the importance of practice. “Practice keeps your voice in shape. It’s a daily exercise. If you don’t exercise, the killing instinct gradually fades into oblivion. Besides, I also experiment a lot. You have to be happy and have a positive mind, cutting all the negativity around,” Hariharan concluded.

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