Songs of peace
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What is the concept behind your latest album Global Sounds Of Peace?
First, 9/11 happened, and then the 26/11 and the many train blasts. So many mishaps have taken place in the recent past and so many lives lost. Personally, I lost two of my friends in the 26/11 disaster. I have also met many people who have lost an earning member in their family because of incidents like these. In our country, where the concept of family insurance is not very popular, imagine what it must be like to those who have lost a bread winner. As a human being, I feel that when God has given us such a lovely life and a beautiful place to live in, why are we destroying it? So yeh sab vichaar tha is album ke peeche. We are trying to spread a message of through it.
What are the kind of songs in the album?
The tracks have been composed by me and written by lyricists Sameer, Shyam Raj, Panchhi Jalonvi, Rahul Seth, Neha Bhasin, Akon and Wyclef Jean. Everyone has supported me, especially Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan). I made a special track, Raag Basant, joh poore raag pe maine compose kiya hain. Vande Mataram in this album sounds different; it has been described as a prathana, and has been sung very well by Shankar Mahadevan. And I have composed all these songs in a symphony; pure form of raag blending into symphony. I have become the first Indian composer to work with London Philharmonic Orchestra.
What genres and types of songs are there in this album?
You will get to hear all kind of genres, including pop, R&B that me and my son Avitesh have sung with Akon. There's a classical track too. These are all songs that have either not been heard before, or were not heard for a long time.
What was Amitabh Bachchan's reaction when you approached him to sing for you?
Dada has always been with me, in both good and bad times. Woh hamesha mere badein bhai ki tarah rahein hain, mujhe parivaar ka sadasya samjha. And it's not that I just asked him to do any song. For me, he is akin to God. Why just me, he holds a very sacred place in the hearts of today's youth too. He is an institution by himself and even after all his accomplishments, he still remains a humble man.
You have roped in three international artists for this album. Tell us something about them.
Besides Akon, Wyclef, we also have Pamela Lajoie, a Canadian artist. Akon and I have known each other for so many years. I was the first person to get Akon to India. Wyclef is like family, I have been working with him for so many years. It's because of Wyclef that I got an opportunity to work with Shakira and in an album with Norah Jones. I had sung with Wyclef and Chamellionaire for the album Carnival II in 2007. The song is called Hollywood meets Bollywood. During the promotional tour for the album, Akon who has sung Dollar bill for the same album, heard me and was very impressed. He was keen that we work together in the future.
And what are their songs about?
Akon's song is very emotional. It's a very meaningful song with Western beats. My son Avitesh has rapped in this song. It's R&B with melody and good arrangements. Wyclef's song, which features Anivesh's vocals is very emotional and brought tears to my eyes. The song also has an Indian version sung by Shaan in English. I have included both the versions in the album.
You have also launched four child artists in the album. Tell us about them.
Through this album, I have launched five kids — Dr. L Subramaniam's daughter Bindu, his son Ambi, my sons Avitesh and Anivesh, and Naina Bachchan, who is Amitji's neice. She is an excellent pianist. They had never performed on the stage before, so I brought them together and encouraged them to sing. I told them, 'you are all talented and this platform is yours'. I have specially composed songs for them.
What are your forthcoming film projects?
I am composing songs for Prakash Jha's Satyagraha.