Musician Joi Baruah who sang an Assamese-Tamil fusion with Shruti Haasan, talks about the collaboration
Prithibi Ghure (Earth revolves) is a Tamil-Assamese fusion song which is climbing the charts on YouTube. The Assamese part is rendered by Joi Baruah, a musician and a composer, while the voice for the Tamil part is of Joi’s friend, actor Shruti Haasan. Friends and musicians, both Shruti and he always wondered if music from two contrasting regions could be clubbed into a melody. “Shruti was keen on it and as I began work I discussed its progress with her. She listened to the Assamese part of the song and said she didn’t want to waste time on the fusion and became a part of the project immediately. It was during this time that she came up with the idea that the Tamil part be written by her father Kamal Haasan,” recollects Joi.
Shruti took it upon herself to get an appointment with Kamal Haasan for Joi and his team — a stipulated 20 minutes slot was to decide a yes or a no from the actor. “We were nervous; the perfectionist that he is, it isn’t easy to impress Kamal Hassan. Yet when we got talking, Kamal Haasan loved the Assamese tune and said it would be nice to work on the fusion and unite two cultures in some way. That 20-minute meeting stretched upto fours hours and we came back happy,” recollects Joi. The star wrote and composed the Tamil part for the fusion.
In the meantime, even before they could record it, the Shruti–Joi duo performed live at an event, much to the delight of music lovers. “It was just unbelievable how two non-related languages could create a music ripple,” says Joi who has been in the music industry for over 15 years.
Having worked in a number of films as a playback singer, vocal arranger and background singer, Joi felt the need to make music to Assamese. “That is the language I have learnt and listened to as a child, so I felt I could do justice by singing in Assamese and also creating music in Assamese, so that the younger generation do not lose hope in our own music. What musical geniuses like Bhupen Hazarika and his brother Jayanta Hazarika have created cannot be left to die,” says Joi.
Joi says he attributes the music in him to his genes and the environment he grew up in. “I was barely three-years old when my dad bought me a violin. He would teach me a little everyday and from there I would play on my own till my next lessons came from him. By the time I was in Std VII, my sister felt I was leading a ‘laid back life’, whatever life a student at that age had,” laughs Joi.
That same day during breakfast his sister taught him her favourite song, ‘Bachelor Boy’ to sing at a competition the next day. “I was impressed with my own performance and from there I understood the singing streak in me. I have never stopped since then,” says Joi.
After a couple of successful albums in Assamese, Joi is working on the music of two movies— “One by Shonali Bose and the other will be John Abraham and Sajid Ali’s next venture,” he reveals.