RAHUL SHARMA, whose fusion album "Celebration - the circle of energy" has just been released, enjoys the challenges of creating music that blends various styles. Trained in Hindustani classical music, this well-known santoor player, son and disciple of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, the eminent musician who put the santoor on the global map as a classical Indian instrument, takes pleasure in various styles. "I enjoy composing a lot. That's the reason I compose for films," says Rahul, the music director of Mujhse Dosti Karoge among other films.
Some classicists find infinite variety in the raga system, and prefer not to stir out into the loud and comparatively repetitive world of popular music. Not so Rahul. "Whenever I get a chance to do something more innovative, I do it," he says. "Zabardasti nahin kiya jaata."
The way albums of pop music, remixes and fusions of dubious origin are being ejected from the recording studios, it would seem that just about anyone can be a musician these days. With recording companies lending their labels to musicians who record their albums at their own expense, it seems anyone with the money can be a contender for a place on the charts. The downside of this situation of course, is that an unknown person with genuine musical ability might not be able to bag a contract for lack of personal funds.
Rahul is circumspect is his assessment. "So far I've never done anything like that," he says, referring to the system whereby the company expects a finished master recording from the artiste without paying for studio hire or other charges. "It depends on the deal you make with the company." He advises that the musician should look into factors like how the company will publicise the album, and what kind of financial remuneration is offered, and "then compromise". But if musicians agree to `invest' their own money in such ventures, it is for "the satisfaction of giving an album". Even in film music, he says, "There is hardly any money." Piracy and the FM channels are ruining business for everybody, says Rahul, adding, "It's a bad system and the whole world is suffering under it."
As for Western countries, "Their system is very structured," he feels, but it will take time before India can reach that level. Currently working on the music for an English film by Tanuja Chandra, Hope and a Little Sugar, in which Sunidhi Chauhan and Ali Asmad (from the Pakistani band Junoon) are singing, Rahul is also looking forward to the release of his album "In Hope of Peace" dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attacks.
Meantime, though, it's "Celebration" time.
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