You may have heard Electronic Music and Classical Music separately, but ever wondered if there could be a confluence of both? Furthermore electronic notes and tunes produced out of Indian classical instruments and ragas? Ananjan Chakraborty, son to Padma Bhushan Pt Ajoy Chakraborty and sister to classical vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty, has made it possible with a genre titled Electronic Indian Classical Music, which was blessed by the Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain before its initial release. The musician has also opened a studio of his own named Ananjan Studio at the musical institution Shrutinandan to train and encourage young, aspiring musicians in search of a platform to express themselves. We speak to Ananjan about his perception of music, and his future ventures.
What is Electronic Classical Music, and how is it different from the electronic music we are used to?
I am a fan of electronic music and as a composer I always try to do something, or explore tunes that have seldom been explored before. Given that I come from a classical music background, when I started exploring global electronic music, I found out that there are already a lot of fusions happening. However, in most cases Classical music is being replicated through electronic devices whereas the vast repertoire of Indian musical instruments is being left untouched. I started sampling instruments of classical origin and producing electronic notes through them. This approach towards Electronic Classical Music is completely new and has given way to a new genre that can ideally be called Electronic Classical Music of India.
The words Electronic and Classical juxtapose each other in the world of music. How are the audiences receiving it?
Classical music is essentially solo music where the vocalist takes the centre, while other musicians accompany him whereas in electronic music such as Dubstep there is a prominent build up and drop. The latter is a product of a lot of automations, improvisations and valuations. In order to fuse it with classical music, one requires a great amount of knowledge about both the genres to understand its essence. The classicism of a track has to be present while creating an Electronic Classical Music. I believe that is something the audiences need to acknowledge while listening to this particular genre, before confusing it with mainstream electronic pop.
What instruments have you experimented with so far, and which ones do you have on your mind?
I have already worked with the Tabla, Sitar and Flute. Flute can produce a diverse range of sounds that make it all the more fascinating and apt for a genre like Electronic Classical Music. Tanpura has a lot of harmonics, hence it also is an ideal instrument to create new sounds that would suit this genre. I have plans of making drum sets out of dhols, dholaks and the mridangam.
What are you working on currently?
Recently I have done something really significant which happens to be a song that I composed for my father as a tribute to him on his 70th birthday. This year also marks 25 years of his institution Shrutinandan, hence someone as legendary as him lending voice to my composition is a personal milestone for me. I also composed a song for my mother, who is also a trained classical vocalist who gave up on her musical career to prioritise her family. Talented children of legendary contemporary and classical musicians have accompanied my father in the song I composed for him. I also hold a great amount of respect and admiration for Arijit Singh, and have also composed for him that will come out on my social media handles soon after my parents’ songs are released. The song is going to be really special and holds a surprise for the audiences which they have never heard from him. I am also focussing a lot more on instrumental compositions as compared to vocals. It has been penned by Srijato and is expected to release early next year.
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