It has been over five decades that tabla and sitar maestro Pandit Nayan Ghosh has enchanted audiences with his unmatched expertise on both instruments. His unyielding dedication and commitment to music have now been passed on to the next generation, his son and disciple Ishaan Ghosh. Hailing from Farrukhabad Gharana of tabla, Ishaan is now taking the legacy forward with his classical music band Araj. The 23-year-old recently released his first group album, Chakra featuring Ishaan along with four other musicians.
The debut music piece features compositions by Ishaan blended with Hindustani and Carnatic music as an ode to Indian classical tradition. “Chakra borrows the rich heritage of Indian classical music and gives it a contemporary and refreshing twist,” says Ishaan. With four tracks — Sargam Crossing, Peace at Eleven, Summing Up, and Thumri Lore — the album features a fusion of intricate melodies, innovative rhythms and harmonies, all creating a distinct neoclassical sound. Ishaan tells us that all the tracks in the album were composed and recorded in a live setting, “Just like how we would rehearse or jam. The organic fragrance is what makes it so special.”
From left:Pratik Singh (Harmonium), Mehtab Ali Nazi (Sitar), Akash Satish (Flute), Ishaan Ghosh (Tabla), Vanraj Shastri (Sarangi) |
Combining two contrasting melodic scales of Raga Vachaspati and Raga Patdeep, the captivating track Sargam Crossing presents a harmonious union of both Hindustani and Carnatic elements. The second track Peace at Eleven is composed by Mehtab Ali Niazi with intricate melodies creating a sound that tugs at the heartstrings. With exhilarating percussion, young percussionist Shikhar Naad Qureshi on djembe. The vibrant rhythmic blend of the tabla and djembe successfully creates an energetic tapestry of sound revolving around the raga Basant Mukhari. Taking one on a soulful journey is the last track, Thumri Lore of the album. This semi-classical track is set in raga Manj Khamaj and is sung by the band’s lead vocalist Pratik Sing.
Through experimentation and exploration, the music group pushes the boundaries of the genre with their fresh and dynamic interpretations. The classical music is in Ishaan’s jeans. Apart from being the son of a music maestro, his hours of practice make his music more profound. “Riyaz is the core of everything. It’s actually happening in the subconscious mind and involves a great amount of mental and emotional involvement,” says the musician who credits his achievements to his father and guru Pandit Nayan Ghosh.
“My father ensured that I loved what I was doing, which was music. As a Guru, he instilled in me the value of tradition and an uncompromising zeal to keep it intact, while not allowing it to get stagnant and make things become a chore or an ordeal. Being born into a music family is a blessing. You have a guru at home. You realise how invaluable it is only when you come across aspirants of music spending almost half their lives searching for the right guru,” says Ishaan, who started performing with his father at the age of seven. “I didn’t even know the meaning of stage fright or anxiety. I guess that was his goal and he achieved it.”
With more than 38k followers on Instagram, Ishaan’s social media is abuzz with his music videos. Some of his reels with his sister Sharanya, who is also a musician have even attracted more eyeballs. “The admiration and love we receive from people with likes and praising comments motivates me. It feels good,” says the Gen Z musician. When asked if he plans to make music as his sole career option, Ishaan quickly says, “Taking music as a sole career is great. Challenges are part of any career that one may choose but with music, the uncertainties, the artistic or professional heartbreaks, the struggle could be a lot more. If you are mentally and emotionally prepared for this, nothing can stop you from making a successful career in music.”