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Bhatt plucks the right note

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is doing an album with Eric Clapton, reports Ritujay Ghosh.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2006 17:59 IST

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt has come a long way, from creating a musical instrument called the Mohan Veena, playing with George Harrison and composing music in the Oscar-winning film Dead Man Walking to winning a Grammy for the world music album, A Meeting by the River. The maestro is still going strong.

Bhatt is all set to fly off to London this week to meet Eric Clapton about an album he is doing with the guitarist and vocalist. “We will be finalising things during this meeting before we start composing the tracks,” says Bhatt, who was in Kolkata on Sunday for a music concert.

The maestro is elated about working with Clapton, whom he has known for the last few years. “I have played with a number of western musicians but an album with Clapton is certainly a big thing,” says Bhatt, whose music moved Clapton so much during a 2004 concert in memory of George Harrison at the Royal Albert Hall, London, that the guitarist, the organiser of the show, approached him for
a concert.

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is doing an album with guitarist and vocalist Eric Clapton.

“This is how our friendship grew. We performed together at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas when we finally decided to come out with an album,” says Bhatt.



The project, says the maestro, will be on world music and both he and Clapton will be on vocals and also play their instruments — the Mohan Veena and the guitar.



“We will compose the tracks together and that won’t take long, may be a day or two,” says a confident Bhatt, who earlier composed A Meeting by the River in just one night.



The musician confesses that he hadn’t heard too much of Clapton till he met him. “Tears in heaven, which Clapton sang after the death of his son, is my favourite. This time we will stress a lot on improvisation. Indian classical musicians always have a tendency towards improvisation in their albums and I will follow the same route,” he says.



Bhatt laments the present state of Indian classical music. “It’s not that there is a dearth of good listeners. However, what we lack is proper presentation. Commercial houses like Sahara and the Ambanis, who are investing so much to promote sports and other things should also look at us and help us promote cultural music in India,” he says.



At present, Bhatt is busy with a fusion album with German guitarist Matthais Mueller, which will see him on the Mohan Veena blending Rajasthani folk with western music. The recording will be done at the end of August. “I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope it will work out well,” he says.



“I have also recorded for a Hindi-Tamil bilingual film for director Mani Ratnam, along with music director AR Rahman,” says Bhatt.

First Published: Jun 12, 2006 15:33 IST