We Indians have always been known for our culture of which art forms have been a major part. Over the years, the contribution in various dance forms, forms of music, literature, and art have been massive. We’ve produced some of the greatest gems in each form of art and have seen the world look up at them in awe. India has been known for music right from the times of Tansen. Our musical geniuses have brought home so many coveted honors worldwide. They didn’t even leave the Grammys behind! While maestros like Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Zakin Hussain had carved a niche earlier, the 2000s have been no less. Here’s looking at two of the best gems we’ve produced in recent times-
A R RAHMAN
Any list about music is absolutely incomplete without this man! His excellence cannot be summed up in a few short lines. He has received so many awards and honors, it’s now difficult to keep count! Be it the different film awards for composing music in different languages, or the coveted National Award, he’s had it all. He was nominated twice for the music of the movies Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours in the Golden Globes, BAFTA and the Academy Awards and he won all the three awards for the former. His greatest win was the Grammy in 2009 for Slumdog Millionaire. And to think that with so many awards, he’d now be complacent, but no! That’s not how he works. This man is still the most humble person you’ll ever find. With a smile that you know comes from deep within. His demeanor is unassuming and he’s full of goodness. His music only gets better with time. You’d know because you’ve been humming “Tu hain”, his recent from the movie Mohenjo Daro. His music speaks of his spirituality. The more you get to know him, the more you realize how much of him is yet to be known! He’s dignity personified. And to say that he’s one of the best musicians to have ever walked our land would still be an understatement. *bows down with respect*
He made us proud at the Gammys of 2015 where he won the award in the Best New Age Album category for “Winds of Samsara”, a collaboration with South African flautist and his best friend, Wouter Kellerman. The Indo-American composer currently residing in Bengaluru, considers the capital city of Karnataka his home. Ever since his big win at the Grammys, Kej has taken it upon himself to work for a greater cause- the environment. He’s a full-time conservationist, channeling his music for the greater good and using it as a means to educate the people world-wide about the environment. His new album Shanti Samsara- World Music for Environmental Consciousness is part of the same! It was launched by no one less than the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Kej’s dedication and determination to bring about change with music is really inspiring. After the launch of Shanti Samsara, he travelled widely speaking about the environment and its conservation. He recounts the experience of meeting the ex-President of the small country, the Republic of Kiribati, Anote Tong who left him deeply influenced. Kej’s idea of bringing about change with the help of music is in fact, commendable. It takes a lot of effort and great levels of dedication to be the harbinger of any kind of change. We hope to see a lot more of him in the coming days, educating people about the surroundings and influencing us to act upon it.