Grammy Award-winner Ricky Kej releases ‘EK’, an album with musical greats to boost consciousness on surroundings
Setting activist and Grammy award winner Ricky Kej didn’t pause in the course of the lockdown. He’s releasing his music album EK of 12 songs that carry the message of environmental consciousness. For the reason that first track ‘Jaago’ launched on August 5, six songs have been launched.
The songs have been sung by widespread artistes like Grammy winners Wouter Kellerman, Baaba Maal, Senegal, Grammy nominee Lonnie Park, Shankar Mahadevan, Kailash Kher, Udit Narayan, Aditya Narayan, Salim Service provider, Benny Dayal, Jonita Gandhi, Neeti Mohan, Anushka Manchanda, Andrea Jeremiah, Khatija AR Rahman, and some others.
Excerpts from an interview with Ricky Kej who shares about collaborating with the greats of the music trade and his environmental activism:
How did EK come about?
I’ve all the time been a robust conservationist and environmentalist, together with being a musician. It was by means of music that I fell in love with our pure world and I discover a deep connection between music and Nature. I do all I can to create consciousness concerning the surroundings and constructive social influence by means of my music. All of the songs in EK are entertaining, enjoyable, and but drive house an necessary message. Mainstream artistes have the ability to make a large distinction by means of their immense expertise and attain, and this album will deliver the subject of environmental sustainability to the forefront.
Ricky Kej’s ‘EK’
I’m an enormous fan of the entire artistes featured, and I used to be thrilled to have a possibility to work with them. The expertise of making the album was undoubtedly not what we’re used to, all of us recorded our parts in our personal houses and all the pieces was executed just about due to the lockdown. Nevertheless, the album has turned out far more stunning than I may ever think about, and I loved this expertise totally.
Twelve songs and almost 25 artistes — how did the method occur?
All of the vocalists on this album are on the highest of their recreation; legends like Shankar Mahadevan, Udit Narayan and Kailash Kher have been within the trade for many years. A lot of the songs had been written in Hindi by my buddy IP Singh and we wrote them maintaining our ‘Dream Singers’ in thoughts. With the assistance of our artist supervisor Nazeef Mohamed and his manufacturing staff BToS, we managed to get the very same singers we had in thoughts to report the track!
Though all of the songs are concerning the surroundings, each one of many vocalists on this album have introduced their distinctive artistry and feelings to powerfully convey what our planet means to us. It comes throughout superbly in all of those songs. I really didn’t need to do any guiding. Every of those artists cares deeply concerning the surroundings and their fellow human beings. They had been crammed with expertise and soul to convey these messages by means of their voice.
Do you voice your ideas on surroundings outdoors music as nicely?
My life is concerning the surroundings and sustainability, musically and in any other case. I work carefully with world organisations and function an envoy and supporter for UNCCD, UNESCO – MGIEP, UNICEF India, Earth Day Community and so on. I’m a robust advocate of the Sustainable Growth Targets of the UN. I’m additionally a professor on the Nationwide Institute of Superior Research (at IISC Bangalore). Solely when individuals begin acknowledging a problem and begin a dialogue to unravel it, an answer will come.
My intention is to encourage this dialogue by means of my music and advocacy. I’ve labored with a number of state governments. For eg, I labored with the Authorities of Andhra Pradesh (AP) to advertise ‘Zero Funds Pure Farming’ (ZBNF). I made a number of journeys to probably the most distant elements of AP to study first-hand concerning the ZBNF approach from the tribal farmers there. This method doesn’t use any pesticides, chemical substances, no GMOs and is 100% pure. I observed the huge distinction that this method is making to the lives of the natives. I musically collaborated with the tribal farmers for the track ‘Jai Kisaan’ in EK.
Additionally, I desire to steer by instance — I don’t personal a automobile and use solely public transportation, I don’t subscribe to quick style and personal solely 11 units of garments at a time, and purchase garments that final a very long time and I’m a vegetarian. I even have my carbon footprint audited each quarter and offset by planting bushes and investing in renewable vitality.
Musically, I’ve carried out for audiences consisting of world leaders, decision-makers and distinguished dignitaries to induce them to create stronger insurance policies to sort out environmental points and well being points. I additionally carry out for most of the people to boost consciousness about these points. I’ll proceed to make use of my creativity to encourage dialogue and motion.
After the Grammy (for Winds of Samsara in 2015), had been you below stress to boost the bar on your later compositions?
I’ve all the time made music from the guts. Awards and accolades are a by-product, and important too. As a way to make a tangible distinction on the earth by means of my music and handle world points like local weather change and air air pollution, I can’t relaxation on my laurels. I take into account each award to be a recognition, and tremendous necessary.
If awards are used only for self-importance, it’s pointless. Utilizing awards for a better good is what issues to me. I try to use the platform that these awards give me to do greater and higher issues.
Is that this a very good time for unbiased musicians?
The unbiased music scene in India is extraordinarily vibrant and promising. Sadly, the film trade nonetheless holds a vice-like grip on the whole music trade and lots of unbiased artistes who’re extraordinarily gifted search validation from Bollywood or simply hand over. A lot of the unbiased music is created with the intention of hopefully making it right into a Bollywood movie.
There are a number of artistes that I’m an enormous fan of and report labels in India must step up and actively search and promote expertise. There’s a lot extra to Indian music than movie music and unbiased/people/classical artistes in India deserve the highlight. I imagine that solely when musicians cease looking for validation from Bollywood, unbiased music will rise.
Wouter Kellerman has been a continuing in your tasks — inform us about your affiliation with him.
It was round 2012 once I met South African flute participant Wouter Kellerman. I used to be an enormous fan of his music, he was a fan of my music. We wished to work collectively. We lastly met in Los Angeles, and whereas discussing concepts for a possible collaboration, I discussed that I had simply composed a bit of music primarily based on the beliefs of peace by Mahatma Gandhi.
By coincidence, Wouter was engaged on a bit of music impressed by Nelson Mandela. By means of our discussions we realised that there was an entire lot of cross-pollination right here — Mahatma Gandhi spent his youth in South Africa, so he has a little bit of South Africa in him. Nelson Mandela was closely impressed by Mahatma Gandhi so he has a little bit of India in him.
So I started including Indianness to his music, and he added South African’ness to my music. Whereas collaborating musically, each of us grew to become the very best of buddies, travelled throughout the globe and in two and a half years we had an album prepared ‘Winds of Samsara’ which went to the highest of the US Billboard charts, and ultimately gained us the Grammy. It’s all the time thrilling to carry out my music reside in live performance with a detailed buddy, and we collaborate on each challenge or concept doable.
Most of your music is concerning the cultural material of India… but it surely’s paradoxical that you don’t converse any of the Indian languages.
I’ve a studying dysfunction, which makes it troublesome for me to select up languages and spellings. There have been some issues that I used to be nice at, and a few that I simply may by no means perceive or imbibe. English was the language that was first spoken to me by my dad and mom and my classmates (since I used to be born within the US), and the language I do know greatest.
Since then it has been a continuing battle to select up different languages, however I now realise that language of my soul, is the language of music, particularly Indian music. That’s all that I must know. All spoken languages are secondary to me. So long as I can specific myself by means of music, I’m joyful and happy.