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Sanjay Divecha Launches New Album ‘Secret’

The veteran guitarist’s sophomore record with his new band Sanjay Divecha and Secret is a collaborative, multi-lingual journey through jazz, Indian classical, folk and more

Nabeela Shaikh Aug 04, 2016
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Sanjay Divecha (exreme right) and Secret launch their album 'Secret' tonight. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

(L-R) Raman Mahadevan, Sanket Naik, Chandana Bala, Sonu Sangameswaran and Sanjay Divecha from Sanjay Divecha and Secret launch their album ‘Secret’ tonight. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

What’s the big mystery behind Sanjay Divecha’s album and band name? Turns out, there is no secret beyond a little alliterative wordplay. “There was a certain mystique to the word ”˜secret’ and it kind of went well,” explains the Mumbai-based guitarist about the title of his second album. “We were initially performing under [the name] Sanjay Divecha but then started thinking ”˜Why don’t we name the band?’”

Sanjay Divecha as it now stands, comprises vocalists Raman Mahadevan and Chandana Bala, bassist Soni Sangameswaran and percussionist Sanket Naik, apart from guitarist and lead composer Divecha himself. And unlike his 2012 debut Full Circle ”” largely an individual effort marked by guest performances ”” the eight-track Secret has been a more collective venture. He says, “When I started to hear the music in my head, the first thing I wanted to do was form a band. They’ve been an integral part of all of this, even though I’m the primary composer.”

Secret, which has been in the works since 2013, sees Divecha continue his “journey started on the previous album” by marrying Indian classical and folk traditions with elements of African and Brazilian rhythm, jazz, funk, blues etc.

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Accordingly, Divecha reimagines three traditional songs for the album ”” the South Indian “Mahaganpatim” gets an Afro beat overhaul; popular devotional Meera bhajan “Saanwara” pays tribute to the guitarist’s country/folk influences, while “Thillana” sees Sanjay Divecha and Secret dabble in Sanskrit and Middle Eastern instrumentation with the bouzouki, saz and doumbek.

But there’s no dearth of original music on Secret, which sees Divecha adopt a more acoustic direction with some of the music community’s most established musicians. He says, “I wanted a more acoustic, organic sound, with me playing the acoustic guitar and not using a traditional drum set, but only percussion.” While trumpeter Kishore Sodha, sax player Shirish Malhotra and drummer Gino Banks bring their jazz loving to the quaint title track, guest artists like veteran pianist/keyboardist Louiz Banks feature on the taal-driven pop tune “Call”. Divecha even ensures some North-East representation with the mellow “Xiyaali Ae (The Mother Sings For Every Civilisation)” sung by Mahadevan in [official Assamese language] Axamiya.

Divecha launches his album tonight at Blue Frog as part of the Mumbai performance venue’s Last Set””a month-long string of gigs before the Frog shuts down for relocation. Says Divecha, “I have a lot of memories attached to that place, because I’ve been part of that family since its inception.”

Sanjay Divecha and Secret launch their album ”˜Secret’ tonight at Blue Frog, Mumbai, 9 p.m. onwards. Event details here.

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