Exclusive Premiere: Watch Shubh Saran Perform ‘Samay’ with Shadow and Light
During his stop in New Delhi earlier this year, fusion guitarist Shubh Saran recorded a series of live music sessions with some of the most popular artists in the Indian indie scene
A few years ago, fusion guitarist Shubh Saran made it his mission to collaborate with the artists he looks up to in the Indian independent music scene. “I started dreaming of an India tour years ago, writing down ideas on a Google Doc of what my ideal tour would be,” says the New York-based Berklee College of Music graduate. “One of the main parts of my ideal tour involved collaborating with these musicians.”
Earlier this year, Saran’s dream became a reality. February saw him and his seven-piece band from New York City tour in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Udaipur. It was during their stop in New Delhi when Saran decided to go ahead and host a series of live music-video recording sessions, collaborating with some of the most popular artists in the Indian indie scene.
One of his most popular collaborators on the project are our April cover stars, fusion/jazz/R&B duo Shadow and Light. “I met Anindo [Bose, composer] from Shadow and Light in 2011 when I was working with Music Basti,” recalls Saran. “Anindo was the recording engineer for a songwriting project Smiti (of acoustic-indie band Chayan & Smiti) and I were working on with a group of students. Since then I’ve been following their music, playing with them each time I’ve been back in Delhi. When Anindo started Shadow and Light with Pavithra [Chari, vocalist] I was hooked and knew I had to feature their music.”
Saran and his band reworked Shadow and Light’s 2016 single “Samay” for the project, blending in more depth with the addition of the saxophone, more detailed guitar and slowing the track down subtly to highlight Chari’s vocals. The video was filmed at New Delhi’s Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication.
Some of the other popular artists Saran has included in the project are singer-songwriter Dhruv Visvanath, Chayan & Smiti, world music band Pakshee, and Hindustani classical vocalist Saptak Chatterjee. Video collaborations with each of them will follow in the next few weeks. With the collaborations oscillating from duos, to solo artists and another six-piece band, Saran admits the logistics of it all were a little complicated but worth the effort. “Each collaboration we did was different and each arrangement we made was unique,” he says. “With the solo and duo artists, we had to be careful to make sure our arrangement didn’t take away from their performance. The artist still had to be the focal point.”
Saran will be releasing the live videos exclusively via Rolling Stone India for the next five weeks and aims to showcase the richness, creativity and diversity of independent music in India. “There’s a sound in the independent music scene that doesn’t exist anywhere else,” he explains. “It’s fresh and modern, resulting from musicians working hard to create something authentic from the ground up. It’s a mixture of influences from Indian classical music to commercial film music and music from abroad in different doses to make something new and exciting.”
Watch Shubh Saran perform “Samay” feat. Shadow and Light below: