65th Grammy Awards: Anindo Bose and Pavithra Chari of Shadow and Light talk about earning a nomination of their song

Anindo Bose and Pavithra Chari of Shadow and Light talk about their Grammy nomination, working with Salim Merchant, and more

Verus FerreiraUpdated: Saturday, December 10, 2022, 08:31 PM IST
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Anindo Bose and Pavithra Chari are on cloud nine. The duo earned a nomination at the 65th Grammy Awards, in the Best Global Music Album category for their song Dua from the Berklee Indian Ensemble album, Shuruaat. The duo is like the name of their music collaboration — Shadow and Light. Chari is a singer and songwriter, and Bose is the keyboardist and sound engineer. The contemporary-classical duo from Delhi compose music in Hindi, English, and Tamil. They recently released a new track, Tu Kaun Hai, in collaboration with composer Salim Merchant.

In conversation with The Free Press Journal, the duo speaks about their Grammy nomination, the new single, and more.

Excerpts from the interview:

How does it feel to be part of a mega project where your song, Dua, is part of the 10 track album?

Anindo: To be honest it hasn’t sunk in yet. We are extremely proud to be part of Berklee Indian Ensemble’s Shuruaat. A Grammy nomination for Best Global album is a massive deal. To be considered for one of the highest musical honours in the world feels surreal. Dua is one of four originals on Shuruaat and we join some of the most celebrated artists across the world on this record. To represent your country, and showcase your artistry to the world is something we’ve aspired to do.

Tell us more about Dua, which was also your first official music video.

Anindo: We wrote Dua in 2016 for our second album Elements. It talks about a very human trait — to ask. The song questions the ideas of having desires, what it means to be content and understanding life in the process. It is written from a place we rarely reflect on — do we ever stop wanting more? We decided to make our first music video on Dua because its narrative had so much to convey to a listener. We’ve tried to convey the essence of the song through metaphors and symbolism (for example the dominoes, story blocks, intertwined thread). A lot of the production has been DIY between myself and Pavithra and our videographer Steve Peter. Pavithra has also danced in the video. It was an extremely challenging but also gratifying process for us to conceptualise and execute everything. We are so proud that Dua is a part of Shuruaat and has received so much love and respect. It really means the world to us.

How did Shadow and Light happen?

Anindo: We met during an audition for a musical in June 2012. Pavithra auditioned for it and we kept in touch. What was supposed to just be a vocal demo ended up becoming our first composition. Our journey began there.

It started as a collaborative project to explore our music with the pure intent of writing music together. We didn’t have a band name. It just so happened that the opening lines of our song, Shadow and Light, was saved in a folder by that name, and that’s where we started saving all our future jam sessions. In a year we had written 10 songs and then released them as a compilation for our self titled debut album. Over the time, the name perfectly reflected the duality and contrast in our influences and songwriting.

Pavithra: For me, Shadow and Light was the first foray into the independent scene. I had just started college and was doing some solo recordings.

What is your typical songwriting process?

Anindo: A song can start in multiple ways. It could be a simple voice note or hummed melodic lines or just some words with a very basic phrase or pattern. These inspire musical arrangements. Sometimes, it may be a loop of chords, piano lines or just an abstract sounds cape or even a groovy drum n bass pattern which again inspires words and melodies. Interestingly, ‘Words suspended in melody’ is how we describe ourselves.

What do most of your songs speak about?

Anindo: Lyrically and musically, our songs depict perspectives of how we observe, feel, and think about the world. We write about the everyday things, the things we question and explore just like we explore music.

You recently released a new track Tu Kaun Hai collaborating with Salim Merchant.

Anindo: We’ve admired Salim’s musicality for years now. He’s also shared his respect and love for our music. When we began writing Tu Kaun Hai, we felt it was the right song to collaborate with him and share it with him. We got an immediate response from him and the process began right away. He’s been a true collaborator and generous friend through the entire journey of the song and we know that he’s in it for the genuine love of music.

What are your future projects?

Anindo: We have our debut release for a web series on OTT coming up and multiple singles as well, which will comprise of our fourth studio album. We want to venture more into films and visual media as well as tour festivals abroad.

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