We listen to music by Pt Ravi Shankar a lot: Grammy-winning band, Snarky Puppy

  • Soumya Vajpayee, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 11, 2014 17:54 IST

Giving more impetus to instrumental music, Snarky Puppy, a New York-based collective of nearly 40 musicians, in its decade-old journey, has created a niche for itself not just in the US, but in other parts of the world as well. Blending jazz and rock, and gospel and R&B, the band is now set to enthral music buffs in India. We caught up with Michael League, the band’s bassist, composer and producer to know more about theirmaiden trip to India, their recently-won Grammy, and their love for Pt Ravi Shankar’s music.

Is this your first trip to India?
Yes. We have been trying to come to India for a long time because we think it’s a unique place, and we have heard a lot about India’s culture, music and food. We want to explore the country.

Do you listen to Indian music?
Our percussionists have learnt to play Indian percussion instruments. We listen to music by Pt Ravi Shankar a lot.

How was your band formed?
We used to jam together and perform jazz when we were in college. Eventually, we realised that we have the potential to work well as a group, and that is how Snarky Puppy came about. Our journey has been really adventurous and we are lucky that people have received us well.

You won a Grammy Award this year in the Best R&B Performance category.
It was indeed an honour for us. The Grammy has certainly brought us more respect. We are in a comfortable space now, and don’t have to struggle anymore. Things have become simpler now.

You have performed with renowned artistes like Marcus Miller, Justin Timberlake and Snoop Dogg, among others. How enriching have such experiences been?
Honestly, it was an honour to share the stage withthem. We have improved with every act and have learned various things from them. I would say that such experiences have helped us grow.

We’ve heard that you encourage music education and conduct workshops and masterclasses while touring. Will you be having some sessions in Mumbai as well?
We would have loved to conduct sessions in India, but unfortunately, we will be in the country for only two days. So, that looks unlikely.

Are there any plans ofcollaborating with Indian musicians?
There’s nothing as yet, but we would love to do that. We will start thinking about that very soon.

Tell us about the projects you are working on.
We will be performing with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in April 2015 and will also be coming out with the second volume of our album, Family Dinner, in February next year.

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