Jag Changa – The Journey Begins

This is a long one and I am writing after a long long time!

By the time this post goes up, most of you reading this would have heard my 2nd album ‘Jag Changa’.

‘Jag Changa’ means ‘The World is Beautiful’ and it is indeed beautiful because of several people and several beautiful moments they created for me.

Even before the album was officially out, we received an overwhelming response with the pre-orders and now that people are listening to the album, the accolades are flowing in and I feel humbled and overwhelmed with the kind of love Jag Changa is receiving. Thank you everyone who subscribed to the faith in our music and continued to support us through all these years.

This album was long over due, I confess and I am sorry to the people who expected us to bring it out sooner. But, in hindsight, today was the right time to let it out. It did take painstaking work across last 3 years to nail each instrument, each lyrical syllable and shape the album, letting it evolve with each passing day. Each of those songs were recorded and re-recorded at least 3-4 times. I just didn’t know how else to work! It was a huge responsibility to take on the role of a producer of the album but that was the only way to do it since only I could hear the final sound of the album in my head. The journey set out in November 2010 and I have chased and travelled long and far to get that particular instrument or sound that I heard in my head and didn’t rest till the sound matched exactly the one I heard in my head. Yes, all my friends thought I was crazy to spend so much money recording this album but now when I look back, its been worth every little pain and penny. I can say that me and my band members are very proud of what we have dished out.

This is not MY album. It was not made to sound like it sounds by me alone. In fact very little of me is in the album. It is filled with incredible, astounding and yet very humble and generous contributions of many many musicians, artists, technicians and people including fans!

It was heartening to see my first ever collaborator-friend since 1995, Mysore H. N. Bhaskar, who was then in France, landed into Bangalore when I called him and said I have two tracks for him to play on! He flew down in the middle of his tour break and helped me record what can only become a classic in the future – ‘Amma’ and then ‘Kodagana Koli Nungittha’. I had already spoken to a middle eastern string section in Turkey to play on that song and was all set to fly to Turkey when they almost tripled their initial quotation. I was heartbroken and didn’t know what to do – there can be only a middle eastern orchestra and nothing else because thats the only thing I heard in my head. Thats when Bhaskar stepped in. He came to Bangalore straight from the airport into the studio. I played him the track that I had recorded. We then listened to Arabic music for a few hours and Bhaskar said ‘let’s do it’! With just one violin Bhaskar layered about 12-15 tracks of each of those incredible phrases. Then with a bit of help of Pitch Shifter I managed to get lower ends and together we created the sound of that middle eastern orchestra and I didn’t even had to travel to Turkey! Later on what he played on ‘Amma’ made me cry several times as the track was recorded. That solo in that song can melt even the toughest of the hearts. Couple of days later, Bhaskar was back in France to continue his tour!

Abigail Washburn, that sunshine-lady that I was so glad to meet in the cold of Windsor Castle. If there was one positive thing about performing for the Queen of England, it was meeting Abigail. I am glad that I took the initiative of breaking into a smile and reaching out my hand and say Hello! She responded with double enthusiasm and in no time we were friends and started speaking about India and Zakir Hussain and thats when she dropped the bomb – ‘I am married to Bela…Bela Fleck ‘. It took a few minutes to realise where I am and what I had just heard. The fact that I was about to shake my hands with the Queen of England didn’t really matter anymore. Abigail and I chatted unabashedly without a care of the prim-proper decorum that was expected out of us to maintain. The next day I met her in trailer van and sang ‘Ambar’ for her. I think that kind of sealed the friendship. We promised that we will collaborate one day for sure. A year later, when I was touring the USA with my band, Abby and Bela invited me to come over to spend a few days with them in their beautiful house in Nashville. Those 4 days in Nashville will go down in my bio as the happiest days of my musical journey. It was not just about meeting Abby and Bela but also about meeting so many legendary greats and multiple Grammy winners of American Folk Music. Abby and Bela threw a party in my name and invited all their friends and we jammed way into the deep night. Time stood still as I was introduced to each of them – Edgar Mayer, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Phoebe Hunt, Kai Welch, Brittany Haas, Mark Collins, Rayna Gellert, Eric Jaskowiak, and Future Man. I also met Jeff Coffin, Saxaphone player of my favourite ‘Dave Matthews Band’ who gifted me with an autographed copy of ‘Away from the World’!

What else does a musician want? Yes, the album is out and I hope it will be a success and I will earn some of the money I spent recording it. But, does that really matter? I have already lived my dream! As cliched as it sounds, the journey simply is of far more importance and beautiful than the destination. The fact that next day when I woke up I found Abby practicing on her Banjo trying to figure out lines that she would play on my song was overwhelming! Here I am, the mecca of American Folk Music, at Bela Fleck’s house, recording his wife on two of my tracks for the album and he is watching over us as he pretends to be lost in his own work! Nothing else mattered.

Another beautiful story is meeting Soumik Dutta, a prodigious young man from London who plays the Sarod. We had just finished playing an acoustic set for the closing ceremony of the London Indian Film Festival and we were climbing up the endless spiral staircase to the projection room which was our make shift changing room when I heard a man puffing and panting running up behind me. ‘Raghu Dixit! Hi! I must say I am a big fan of your music and I find you very inspiring’. I took him to be someone who loves my music and returned his kindness with a thanks and invited him into the dressing room. We got talking and when I asked him what he does, he replied shyly ‘ am a musician too of some sort and I play the sarod’. And like I always do, I invited him to our apartment next day with his instrument to jam with me. And O boy, he blew us all away. The same evening we were performing at the Hoxton Hall and I asked him if he would like jam on one of our songs and he readily agreed. That night was special. I was given the ‘Songlines Best New Comer Award’, handed over to me by the legendary journalist Robin Denselow of The Guardian. The evening became more special because I found Soumik Dutta. He is born to be on stage and he plays his instrument like a dream. We struck instant friendship and promised to stay in touch.

Many months later I read his tweet that he is in Kolkata! Got in touch with him and asked him if he had any free time to meet and record on one of my songs. He had just half a day for me. I took my chances. I took the next available flight to Kolkata and landed myself into my hotel. Soumik came with his instrument and we jammed for a bit which I promptly recorded on my laptop. Almost half of the stuff you hear on ‘Rain Song’ was recorded in that hotel room. Next day we entered the studios and Soumik owned the song. He jammed about 50 different tracks for his solo! I came back to Bangalore and did a massive editing job and today we have ‘Rain Song’ the way it sounds. The bigger story is that I remembered my composition ‘Rain Song’ because I met Soumik. Rain Song was composed 10 years back and never performed on stage and forgotten into the archive folders of my brain. It had to meet its perfect soul mate in Soumik to rise from the dust of time and get its life!

The next amazing story is meeting the members of Bellowhead, Andy Mellon treatment with Sildenafil and Brendan Kelly in London. Southbank Centre and British Council India had invited us together to be part of a project. We were in the UK also to perform for the Alchemy festival at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in Southbank Centre. Very likeable chaps, always smiling with typical British humour up their sleeves. While we spent little time talking about the project that were supposed to collaborate for, most of the time was spent striking that amazing friendship that we built up over several months later. During the lunch break I asked Andy if he and Brendan would be free to watch our gig 2 days later and he replied ‘Do you want us to watch you guys from the audience or from the stage?’ Thats all I wanted to hear. Lunch was abandoned and out came the horns and in two hours time, they jammed and a horn section was nailed into 4 of our songs for the show! We had a fantastic time jamming with them during the practice and then the show. Andy and Brendan made me realise that there is a huge space in my songs for a horn section to join my band! That sound stayed in my head till the next year we travelled to the UK and I managed to record both of them on Lokada Kaalaji and Kodagana Koli Nungittha.

Santa Shishunala Shariff and I became friends because of the legendary C.Ashwath. Though a saint-poet of 18th century, Sahriff’s words became extremely popular with my generation because of C.Ashwath’s melodies. I discovered a treasure of my land in his poetry and when I first decided to sing in Kannada, a language I have spoken throughout my life, it was Shariff’ poetry book that I picked up and composed my first Kannada melody for the now popular ‘Gudugudiya Sedi Nodo’.

Ankur Tewari whom I met at several of my gigs and have always loved his word play agreed to write Yaadon Ki Kyari. It is a song about my childhood memories. It was a cathartic process and he patiently heard to every title story I had, laughing with me when I remembered the funny ones and putting his arm around me when I remembered the sad ones and cried. It takes 5 minutes for Ankur to write a song because he understood me so well. I am glad to have a friend like you Ankur!

Niraj Singh, who had written the cult hit with my fans ‘Ambar’ did an incredible job writing ‘Jag Changa’, ‘Sajana’ and ‘Rain Song’. I didn’t have to change a word of what he wrote. Again, the friendship that we have shared over 8-9 years makes it so easy to give him a brief and he comes back exactly what I wanted!

Madhan Karky – a gem of a guy – whom I met in Chennai through another amazing musician-friend Shankar Tucker. I was invited by Shankar to record my voice for one of his songs for a Tamil Movie for which he was composing. Madhan was his lyricist and my pronunciation-monitor. We shared several laughs during that recording and within a few hours the friendship was sealed and I could trust him with my favourite melody of the album ‘Amma’. Much later into the conversation I learnt that he is the son of the legendary Shri.Vairamuthu. Madhan wrote the song with as much love as much I had composed the melody with. He didn’t mind re-writing it several times till i was sure that the words said exactly wheat I felt about my mom. It was again, cathartic and I could share my deepest secrets with Madhan without hesitation.

I am a strong advocate of the fact that beautiful music can happen only with friends and not with session musicians who work like bored assembly line in a pharma company! And, I am glad this album was made with a little help from the amazing friends I met along the journey. This also explains why the album was delayed for so long. It was meant to be born out of friendships that I was lucky to strike across the world. Even the words on each of the songs were written by people who first became my friends in a huge way and then offered their help with the lyrics.

I have to mention this huge kid, Bryden Stephen Lewis buy lioresal, order baclofen to treat spinal cord injuries. buy generic lioresal online. generic lioresal ( baclofen ) is an analogue of gaba, it is used to treat  . Huge in talent and kid in age and his stupid jokes. He made me hear chords on my songs which I would have never heard on my own. He has his theory up his ass and he inspired me to finally learn music theory. I will get there someday. Bryden brought in the tone and clarity in the guitar tracks that the songs deserved and he in many ways was also my go-to guy to decide on a mix. When pushed really hard, he also managed to pick up a Ukulele when we were touring the UK and a Banjo when we were in the USA. The experiences picked up during these two tours can be heard evidently in his playing on this album. He has promised me he will pick up a few more instruments soon.

Another kid in the band is the super talented Parth Chandiramani. The chick-magnet in the band, Parth has become one of the main stays of the band within a short period and since then picked up several instruments. He didn’t feature much on this album but you will soon see that he is the star of the band in the coming months. He started with the Indian Bamboo Flute but now also plays the Saxaphone, Melodica, Accordion and also percussions!

I also have to mention Darbuka Siva, Jithin Das and improving to priligy generic dapoxetine 60mg health affairs, usd$7,498 will be related on every cash, rationale and flu in the united states in 2007, 20 ability of all  xenical to buy online Vijay Joseph, bandmates and friends from Chennai, who don’t play too often with me these days but have shaped my songs like Kodagana Koli Nungittha, Sajana and Lokada Kaalaji. The interludes they jammed years back are still the soul of those songs today. Ashish Manchanda who went on to play a bigger role than just being the Mixing-Mastering engineer of this album. Thanks for inspiring me, make me look inwards and helping me to step up my act. You were my perfect wake up call!

Gaurav – the rock solid pillar of my musical journey since the day I met him. I like the fact that we are not exactly brothers nor great friends but rather a strange mix of both. We don’t agree on so many things and yet agree that the destination is the same. I like the fact that we never felt it was necessary to have a 100 page contract to define our relationship. Its just my word and his word and we have managed to hold up our ends for each other. He has worked tirelessly to make this band and the album be what it is today. He not only plays the bass guitar in the band but literally fathers everyone in the band. Management is not my strongest point and I am quite a bitch when it comes to work. But Gaurav is my antidote. He is the calm during all storms and his charm always have won several battles that I would easily lost on my own. I wish I could be like him in more ways than one but I guess I better be what I am! He is the one who books our gigs, negotiates moneys, makes sure flights and hotels are booked properly, everyone is on time to the rehearsals and to the airport, sound rider is adhered to, stage is properly set, helps the drummer get his kit up, over see the sound check, answer all emails, reply to every Facebook and Twitter message, get the press organised, answer several interviews on my behalf, design the website, design the merchandise, design the posters, design the CDs, lug around the CDs to every concert and sell them, play bass during the concert while keeping an eye on his phone secretly hidden under the monitor for any client calls and then shine his disarming smile through his long hair while grooving on stage. If there is one manager in this world who can play the bass in the band and can email/tweet/facebook on his phone while driving his car and also is a fantastic cook, it is Gaurav Vaz 23 feb 2010 … please return you lent box on easter sunday, buy zyban without prescription. where can i buy zyban online, the money collected will help … ! Thank you Gaurav!

There are several that I remember as I write this on the eve of the album release. Each one of you have come in as strangers into my life and done things for me that only angels do. I dedicate ‘Parasiva’ to you. That song was written just to thank all those people who I believe can only be an act of God. buy cialis online from an official certified pharmacy, no prescription is required, exclusive & competitive discount prices, express shipping & discrete packaging. Vishal-Shekhar who became the fire of my rocket, Hariharan (BCIL) who sponsored my demo recording in 1998 which eventually Vishal-Shekhar heard in 2006, Paul Knowles and Robert Horsfall who helped my first album ‘Antaragni’ invade the British land, Jerry Leisight who got our biggest break in the UK to perform on Later with Jools Holland which turned things around for us in a hopeless market, Martin Elbourne to have let us experience Glastonbury, Vijay Nair of OML who secretly likes me and has helped us out several ways, several musician-friends – Parth Chandiramani, Wilfred Demoz, Manoj George, Josy John, Daevo Khan Manganiyar, Bruce Lee Mani, Tony Das, Karthik Iyer, Praveen D Rao and many more.

Our sound engineer, Cialis super active online Vinod Bangera who has been with us for over 4 years and grown along with the band. ‘I am proud of who you are and grateful for what you have done so far. Truly appreciate your sincere commitment you bring to work!’ Gary Lee, our engineer in the UK who travelled to India just to help us record drum tracks is another awesome soldier of the band and he is ridiculously fun to spend time with. Thank you both!

Nini (Ashwini Shashidhar) who designs our now-legendary and trademark Lungis! I forgot to thank her on the CD sleeve and I regret for that lapse! ‘Nini! You are awesome and the joy you bring every time you visit me is inexplicable. Thank you of adding the wild colours to our journey!’

Most importantly I would like to remember the fans who have stuck to us and supported us over the years. Thanks for your words of encouragement and inspiration. This album is for you. And I want you to buy it 🙂 and make sure you learn every word of every song because I want you ll to sing with me at my next concert I see you!

Family – thank you. Mayuri, my wife, for shaping the artist in me, taking care of the child in me and tolerating the monster in me. Amma for being my Amma. Every word in that song is for you. I love you. Vasu, my brother for being there when I needed you most.

The journey begins now. All these years have been a good prep time. Its about time that we switch the gears and enjoy the ride! Hop in if you would like to be a part of this amazing journey, everyone’s welcome.

This world is beautiful.

-Raghu
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Buy the new album "Jag Changa"

Jag Changa is Raghu Dixit’s best work yet, and is packed with the kind of music one has come to associate with the Bangalore act – soulful, uptempo and earthy.