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Sheís a classically trained singer who thrives on playing live and heís one of our most respected composer/producers Ė the two come together to bring you an album built on top quality musicianship and a healthy urge to give non-film music in India a kick in the pants. Meet musical partners in crime - singer Sona and composer/producer Ram Sampath.

The Record: Tell us about the experience of collaborating with INXS on the song Afterglow.
It came like a bolt from the blue. There was talk of the band coming into the country and we got a call saying they want to collaborate with an Indian artist. Sony put forth our name and sent our music across and they really liked my voice. The first time Ram and me sat and heard Afterglow we both felt it had an Indian soul Ė there was this sarangi playing and there were these kind of wails and yodels that JD [Fortune] was doing that is very reminiscent of the kind of alaaps that we do. Suddenly it struck me, that it was very reminiscent of Raag Kalavati which is one of my favourite raags. We didnít have much time to work on it because the band was on tour and they had to hear it. There was talk of us performing it live when they came here, only problem being they had a really tight schedule and we couldnít fit in one rehearsal together which is why they were not very comfortable going on stage [with the collaboration]. We honestly thought it was just one of those things that we were blessed to have gotten the chance to even do. We met the band after their show here and they said they just loved it. In fact one of them told me that ĎI had just finished reading a book on India and I heard your voice and I just knew that this was what the soul of the country was all about.í That was really sweet. In fact everyone from the band had something very nice to say, which I guess you could assume people would just say, but they were really specific in their feedback and in fact there are some talks of further collaborations with them. It is in the pipeline, one doesnít know, but weíve also shot for the video and hopefully that should be out on air soon.

TR: Your song Bolo Na is playing everywhere Ė you must get some interesting feedbackÖ
Yesterday I got this sweet email from a guy from a small town in Gujarat who saw the video and the band and got inspired to start learning how to play guitar. So he went into the city, bought a guitar and said ĎIím just staring at it now because I donít know how to play it but Iíll figure it outí. I thought that was the most awesome feedback that I could have got, that thereís some young guy who was inspired to learn the guitar. Other bands from across the country have also written to me asking for the chord sheets of the song because they want to play it live. Thatís the nicest thing I think that could have happened.

I was also on the dance show Boogie Woogie and I wasnít too sure how my music would translate there but it just rocked! Before the show started, I was just talking to them and I began singing my song Aaja Ve and they all started dancing and moving to it. It was amazing. I called Ram up immediately and said this whole place is dancing to our song! [Smiles] Itís the most amazing feeling. In fact I had this experience about how music connectsÖ I was backpacking across Europe last year and I was going through France and suddenly on one of Ramís songs from the film Letís Talk came on the radio. Itís an eclectic album, got no promotion in our country, it just came and went but itís one of his best pieces of work and I couldnít believe it because someone had picked it up and was playing it in Paris. I traced it back to the radio station and they said itís one of their favourite soundtracks along with Nusratjiís [Fateh Ali Khan] Night Songs. It was so surreal!

TR: Where does your album fit into todayís Indipop/non-film music scene?
As far as Indipop is concerned, I hope we become the thorn in its side. In terms of non-film music there is so little happening in the mainstream that itís really sad. We need to get the music out there for people to hear and weíll know whether itís a whopping success or a non-starter not now but ten years from now. This is Sonaís first album and sheís going to do a lot more so thatís the most important thing for me. Hopefully we will be the thorn on the side of every nonsensical, untalented act that comes out of non-film. Hopefully they will eventually grow a conscience and not want to waste money making crap records. [Laughs] TR: Whatís up next for you?
I want to get on the road and play live. Weíve already started talking about the second album and hopefully we start work on it from January. Ram tells me ĎItís not the first album that will indicate your success or failure as an artist, itís going to take atleast three to four albums to see where youíre headed.í I hope to, in ten years, look back and have atleast four to five albums if Iím lucky. [Smiles] Iím here for the long run.


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