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Quick five with Shadow and Light

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Delhi-based contemporary classical musical duo Shadow and Light, comprising Anindo Bose and Pavithra Chari has been composing and performing for a while now. Talk about fusing genres of Hindustani classical, hints of Jazz, Pop, along with Electronica and Soul, Shadow and Light’s sound unveils cinematic soundscapes and emotional experiences. It’s been a significant journey full of shocks and surprises for them, but they’ve pushed on. After two-years (the Last album Elements was released in 2016), they released their third studio album Sabar exclusively on Saavn (28 February 2018). Pavithra has written some of the string lines and Anindo has contributed a bit to the lyrics in the new album Sabar, the only album of Shadow and Light with all Hindi songs and Hindi title. The duo launched their album followed by a performance at The Quarter Mumbai on 15 March.

Music Plus caught up with the duo for a heart-to-heart conversation on their album, their personalities as they both have very different traits, just like the idea of duality and contrast in the music, their association with Saavn, upcoming projects and more. “We bicker a lot, almost all the time! Sometimes when we find ourselves in a mental block, we have abandoned tracks, gone on to write new songs in the interim, and come back to finish the first idea after a full year,” said Pavithra and Anindo, almost together.

What does the name ‘Sabar’ signify and what was the ideology behind it? How did the association with Saavn take place?

Sabar is a testimony to all that work and growth. With this album, we feel like we’ve carved a definite niche for our music and unique sound. In relation to the first two albums (signifying the universe and water), Sabar signifies ‘earth’.

We’re proud to be part of the Artist Originals roster under Saavn. It feels great to be one of the first few Indian artists to be a part of this family. We were approached by a few people from Saavn who have loved the music and have followed our work closely. We are looking forward to the album launch tour (that is currently in progress) and all the cool collaborations we will be working on through Saavn’s association. For now, we are happy to be only working with Saavn.

Do you guys ever feel nervous when you have to play live in a completely different sound in a not-so-familiar place or before hitting the stage?

We don’t really get nervous, but we do get a bit apprehensive when we know that a particular audience may not know our music, and may expect us to perform popular covers. In terms of festivals, we have been lucky enough to have travelled to various places in the country and it’s quite exhilarating to perform amidst mountains, the great sand dunes, and from across the ocean.

What is your take on the youth who are inclined to electronic music? Do you think people are developing their musical perception over time?

We feel like there is an ample listening audience for each genre and musical style. We do agree that some forms of music may be more easy listening and experience based than the other, but there are a lot of genuinely interested listeners for contemporary – classical music as well. We feel like more and more people are beginning to explore different genres, and are introducing themselves to new music all the time. There is a space for everyone.

Bollywood music takes the biggest piece of the pie and then comes regional music. According to you, how difficult is it for a singer/composer to flourish in this market as an independent artist?

Honestly, it is really tough but not impossible. It’s a matter of personal choice whether to take a longer route and slowly build a fan base or play mainstream music and get popular. Music is about sacrifice. It’s not easy to get that ideal balance of commercial success and great songwriting in the independent music space right from the start. One needs immense amounts of dedication to the craft, patience and self-confidence to keep working hard and create a niche for his/her unique sound.

Tell us about your musical influences and upcoming projects? What if you have to change your genre after a few years?

Psychedelic groups of the retro era, jazz/rock bands, RnB bands, gospel music, Hindustani and Carnatic classical artists, Indian contemporary-classical artists, the list is quite long and varied. We have composed and performed two songs in an upcoming collaborative album with Karsh Kale, Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash. We are very excited and looking forward to that.

We have quite a bit of variety within our songs and albums, so we wouldn’t want to change what we have. The more we write, we feel like there is so much more potential to develop our sound. For this year we are looking forward to collaborating with more unique musicians to reinterpret existing songs. We may even write some new material, keeping collaborations in mind.

Having performed at multiple music festivals and gigs, Pavithra and Anindo’s some of the best experiences are definitely their performances for all the album launches they’ve had, their collaborative shows with Karsh Kale for NH7 Weekender Pune and Mood Indigo and the specially curated shows by Ranjit Barot at Serendipity Arts Festival. “We also had a wonderful time performing our song ‘Unkahi’ with the Karsh Kale Collective for Red Bull Studio Science at Yash Raj studios,” the duo signed off.

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