Amaan and Ayaan Ali on their latest collaboration with U.S.-based singer Devika Chawla
Sarod symphonies of brothers Ayaan and Amaan Ali have found a new companion in the form of U.S.-based singer Devika Chawla’s voice. Their recent track “Holle-Holle” is a new age composition presenting a blend of contemporary music with a tinge of soul.
Devika, who is credited with the song’s composition, vocals and lyrics, is an old friend of the Khan duo. She is known for her numbers like “Barkha Bahar” and “Kehnde Ne Naina”.
“With her beautiful texture of voice, Devika brings about an old-world charm in her music. When paired with sarod, it is like coming together of two worlds,” says Ayaan Ali who can’t stop praising the singer.
Based on late evening raga Jhinjoti, the track has a special lounge music appeal. Amaan says, “Nowadays, it’s more about the presentation. When the classical music influences get a contemporary touch it changes the conventionality we see in music around, thus making it more memorable, something which you’ll find in our track as well. A little lounge touch on the sufiana surface adds mysticism to the song.”
The video seems to romanticise the streets of San Francisco with transcendental tunes. Talking about the inspiration behind shooting and recording the track in the city, Ayaan says, “The exteriors, the surroundings, those beaches and the city...everything put together became an inspiration behind recording the song there. I feel nature is always reflective of music and there we were able to connect both of them.”
Classical music has its own devout following but still some musicians try to familiarise the masses with collaborations like these. “Classical music is like an ocean, collaborations like ours become mere tributaries that eventually merge into one big ocean. These are just musical relationships out of which fruits keep coming but the roots underneath remain the same,” says Ayaan who has also lent his vocals to the track.
On how mainstream populism is eating away the purity of classical music, Amaan assures us, “Today, money has increased, the number of corporates has increased in the entertainment business and each generation comes with its own music. But classical music isn’t going anywhere. It’s part of the culture and culture never gets driven by hit or loss. It’s driven by Saraswati and not by Lakshmi.”
With music retail having almost died down, Ayaan, in the context of the digital launch of their tracks, says, “It’s like an e-book which you read and review in digital format, instead of spending on albums. We come up with new songs that are digitally available on almost all platforms.”
For Devika, the entire experience was a lot of fun. “We connected a while back in San Francisco when Amaan and Ayaan were visiting and started jamming. I hummed a line, they played a line, I built another line, they played another line, and we continued this session back and forth until a track started to take shape.” They later quickly headed to a studio, so that they wouldn’t don’t “forget what they had improvised!”
Performing for the first time with the sarod, she calls it a “refreshing, challenging and inspiring” experience altogether.