Bickram Ghosh teams with composer of James Bond film for album


New Delhi : The country’s leading percussionist Bickram Ghosh has teamed up with Pete Lockett, dubbed the world’s most versatile multi-percussion player, for a new album “Kingdom of Rhythm” that features more than 250 percussion instruments from around the world.

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The duo has just completed shooting the music video of the album to be released in January.

Lockett, who set the score for the latest James Bond thriller, “Quantum of Solace” starring Daniel Craig, composed the music for five of the previous Bond movies.

Ghosh shot to limelight after he featured on Pandit Ravi Shankar’s album “Full Circle” that won the Grammy in 2004.

He has since collaborated with international musicians, including George Harrison on his album “Brainwashed”, Bob Haddad, Mstilav Rostropovish, Khaled Kouen and Yosi Levi.

Ghosh is the son of the one of the early pioneers of fusion music, Shankar Ghosh, who had collaborated with the “Grateful Dead” in the US. After spending his early years in the US, Ghosh, a drummer, trained in tabla and learnt the nuances of Carnatic music from Pandit S. Sekhar.

The duo played extracts from their latest album, along with famous Indo-jazz guitarist Giuliano Modarelli at the Ballantine’s “Leave an Impression” concert in the capital Thursday evening. The thread that bound the three musicians from three different cultures – Lockett from London, Modarelli from Italy and Ghosh from Kolkata – was the love for Indian percussion instruments and classical music – influences of which peppered the tracks.

“Pete and I are working for the first time on an album. It is totally rhythm-driven. We have all kinds of beat instruments like the Japanese tyco drums, dhamsa, madols (Indian tribal drums), darabukka (Persian) drums, African drums, electric tabla and all possible percussion instruments from southern India. People are going to get a surprise,” Ghosh told IANS in an interview.

Ghosh has just completed composing music for “Little Zizou”, a Mira Nair production directed by Soonie Taraporevala and starring Boman Irani, John Abraham and Kamal Sidhu. He has collaborated with guitarist Modarelli for the movie.

“It is essentially background score because the movie has no songs. We have used two Dean Martin numbers. Modarelli has produced phenomenal sounds,” Ghosh said. The movie is about an 11-year Parsi boy’s view of Mumbai.

Ghosh is also working on the score for a mystery thriller in Hindi based on a Sherlock Holmes story, “The Diamond Murders”. “I have just recorded one song with Modarelli yet. I would call the number mystery jazz – a kind of a dark bluesy number in minor notes – sung by a mystery woman,” Ghosh said.

He prefers to describe his music as new age – a medley of Indian beats, folk, Carnatic music, western jazz, blues, Latin, Cuban and desert music.

Ghosh released his maiden fusion percussion album “Rhythmscape” – named after his first ensemble – in 2006 and followed it up with “Dreamscape”, “Folktale”, “Beyond Rhythmscape” and “Kingdom of Rhythm”.

“Electro-classical”, which features fusion tracks played on an electronic mridangam, electronic veena and electronic mandolin will be released in March next year.

“Contemporary sounds are changing beyond recognition,” he said.

Ghosh, who is also actor, has starred in two Bengali movies. “I featured in ‘Piyali Password’, shot in the US and more recently in ‘Neel Rajar Deshe’. The DVD of the movie has been released,” he said.

Ghosh, who is promoting his new album “Kingdom of Rhythm” across the country, however, has no ambitions to make it big on screen. Percussion remains his first love. “However, I would love to act in a good musical if the directors in Tollygunge makes one. All the different genres of music in India and Bengal can be put together for a new musical. I am sure someone will soon think of one,” Ghosh said.