Soaked in the tradition of Indian music and drawn to African harmonies, Mumbai-based musician Dhruv Ghanekar has been working on bringing them together. The result is Voyage, his second solo album after Distance, which released in 2009. The latest album is under his music company Wah Wah Music Productions and has nine-tracks which are a blend of North and West Africa, jazz, pop, Assamese and Rajasthani folk and classic rock.
Available across digital platforms including iTunes, it features award-winning international artistes such as Mexican soul singer-songwriter Raul Midon, French bassist Etienne M’Bappe, Algerian drummer Karim Ziad and Mauritian bassist Linley Marthe, apart from percussionist Trilok Gurtu, Kartik Das Baul and vocalist Vasuda Sharma.
“It’s a metaphorical journey of my musical ideas viewed through my Indian lens,” says Ghanekar, about Voyage. For instance, Baare baare featuring Kalpana Patowary brings together rich Assamese folk and the traditional tunes of north Africa’s Maghreb region. Veteran folk singer Ila Arun, (also his mother in-law) lends her seductive, folksy voice to Dhima, a mix of gothic rock, and North African rhythms, inspired by the two deserts — one in Rajasthan, the other in North Africa. “There are so many intrinsic synergies between the musical cultures of northern India and North and West Africa. The marriage of these two sounds was screaming to be fused,” adds Ghanekar, who is planning an India tour at the end of the year to promote the album.
Africa, points out Ghanekar, is considered the birth place of blues, and while Europe right now is very big on African music, unfortunately, in India, we are exposed to a blast of American music.
Released in February, Voyage recently made it to the top 10 iTunes chart. Heavily influenced by his travels, one can actually feel the waters on The Boatman’s Song and pull of the strings in Anthem.
One of the co-founders of Blue Frog, as well as Smoke Music Productions, Ghanekar has composed music for films such as Bombay Boys, White Noise and Drona, and has belted out more than 3,000 jingles.