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Songs by the journeyman

Dhruv Ghanekar dons many hats. The most interesting of which is that of a music sojourner. The Mumbai-based musician, music director and songwriter has constantly driven himself and his genre-bending music to the limits and beyond in seasoned proficiency both in the studio and on stage. Giving his songs a listen can easily convince you why the multi-instrumental artiste endeavours to keep moving across the music soundmark to conquer new highs in his song offerings.

Making music since he was nine, Dhruv has a career spanning across ad films and alternative movies with over 3,000 projects in his kitty. The feather in his cap as an accomplished artiste is the range of collaborations he dabbles in, be it in his albums or in his repertoire of music projects. Following his debut album Distance in which he invites listeners to traverse space and time, Dhruv traverses space and time in Voyage where he himself goes on a journey, both literally and musically, across the soundscape of India.

Voyage is global and Indian at the same time as it seamlessly blends North and West Africa, jazz, pop, Assamese folk and Rajasthani folk and classic rock into a singular sonic voice in the nine-track compilation. Featuring award-winning international artistes like New York-based Raul Midon, French/ Cameroonian bassist Etienne Ma Bappe, Algerian drummer Karim Ziad, Mauritian bassist Linley Marthe and percussionist Trilok Gurtu. Rajasthani folk singer Ila Arun, Kartik Das Baul from West Bengal, and singer-songwriter Vasuda Sharma give the album its eastern touch.

Launching into a cacophony of people noises, ‘Zawi D’ kicks off in a very colloquial feel. Rhythmic intros, synthesized vocals and a classical touch of keyboard patches backed by saxophone sonnets leads to a triumphant blend of Eastern and Western chops.

Dhruv really opens up in ‘Baare Baare’ in emphatic vocal tenacity accompanied by Kalpana Patowary on vocals. The improvised, consistently patterned rhythms continues from where it left in ‘Zawi D’ accompanied by explosive percussive chops and a spectacular bridge.

Meandering to a waltzy calm serenade, vocalist Vasuda Sharma joins the bandwagon with Dhruv and they create a magical ballad of pop sonic bliss. The whispering singer’s ethereal voice and the enigmatic cello floating in the background over clapped beats builds to an exhilarating climax in the dual-lingual ‘Sway With Me’. ‘Dhima’ will catch you totally off guard with a very typical South Indian beat blazed by some thrilling processed guitar work. Ila Arun sings away calling out “Dhima Dhima” in this mind-blowing fusion of western instruments in a very exuberant Indian song that exudes dance frenzy. Foot-tapping keys, acoustic guitar soundscapes and vibrant drums lead the way in ‘Chilli’ which is more tangy than spicy. It’s the kind of street vibe song you will hear off the radio on a sunny evening by the coast. What makes the song stand apart is the virtuosic violin lead by Ginny Noel Luke that rampages in and holds you captive till the final screeching bow stroke.

Male enigmatic vocals dominate the title track with Raul Midon, Etienne Mbappe and Trilok Gurtu voicing their tonal proficiency backed by a full-fledged orchestral set-up with guitars, cig fiddle, percussions, keys, bass, drums and piano in the loop for the song. A very melancholic turn happens in ‘This India’, that soon establishes a solemn violin and viola instrumental-backed sonic lament. The sarang blends in harmoniously in the skillfully composed offering. Water ripples in the Voyage in ‘The Boatman’s Song’ as singer Katik Das Baul calls out in typical riverman fashion as the track effortlessly sways you to the tug of the aqua vibe. The triumphant Voyage ends on a perfect tribute to a journey across the country with ‘Anthem’, a solo rendition of the National Anthem by Dhruv bringing curtains down on a sonic expedition of epic proportions.

Artiste: Dhruv Ghanekar

Album: Voyage

WAHWAH Music, iTunes and mp3 online, Rs. 120

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 4:20:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/songs-by-the-journeyman/article7150852.ece

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