Chemistry of collaboration

The Asian Age.  | Garima Arora

Entertainment, Music

Singer and composer Karsh Kale believes that no software can match the chemistry that is sparked when musicians come together to make music.

Karsh Kale

From Norah Jones to Anoushka Shankar, Alicia Keys to Herbie Hancock, singer and composer Karsh Kale has collaborated with numerous international artistes, creating music with a unique identity of its own. He believes that collaborations help in the growth of musicians to a great extent. “I believe that the experience of collaboration, even simply as an exercise, helps musicians grow in ways that no solo practice can. Collaboration often doesn’t ask you to do the easy stuff you already know, but rather challenges you to pull out the tougher ideas that you think you aren’t capable of executing. It’s much like a sports team, where there is much to learn sitting across from other artistes,” says Karsh, adding, “I have a library of creative inspiration to draw from, mainly because I spent years and years collaborating with musicians from all walks of life.”

He further elaborates, “The years have proven one thing to me — that there is no software, controllers, loopers, or other gear on this planet that can come close to replacing the chemistry that is sparked when musicians come together to make music. The ideas always remain human. I think young artists need to be less concerned with what gear they are using, and focus on gaining more human experience.”

Studio Science experience
Karsh was recently featured in the first Indian instalment of “Studio Science”, an initiative of Red Bull Music academy, where artistes open up about their music sensibilities and give various tips and tricks to young and aspiring musicians. In the 15-minute episode, Karsh shares how he discovered his love for the tabla, an instrument he believes has “so much possibility.”

“For many, the studio experience remains a mystery. The studio is the kind of place where there is no one particular approach, so it’s nice to inspire young artists to innovate and design their own experience. This time I also wanted to focus on inspiring people to create an ensemble or a band. Technology allows us to do it all ourselves nowadays, so I felt it was my duty to remind the audience that music in the end is about people interacting,” he shares.

Electric tabla
As someone who is constantly intrigued by the possibilities of electronic music, Karsh says that he created an internally miked tabla out of necessity. “As an acoustic instrument, sharing the stage with drums, guitars and generally loud instrumentation relegates tabla to a simple percussion instrument and not the incredibly expressive instrument that it is in classical music. Once I was able to blend tabla with electronic sounds, I realised that its possibilities were endless,” he explains.

Electronic music
Modern electronic music has little to do with geography. According to Karsh, electronic music is going to have the same scope in India as anywhere else in the world. “Kids in Delhi are making the same music as kids in Berlin and kids in Detroit, etc., and people all over the world are consuming all of it,” he elucidates.