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Power to Collaborations

Suchita posted on 12th September

By Suhail Yusuf Khan

Over the course of my life as a sarangi player, I’ve been in remarkable situations where I’ve met a particular artist\musician just about half an hour before a gig - barely enough time to familiarize ourselves with each others’ names, let alone language. But when we've stepped on stage, we've ended up playing an hour long set… and kept wondering - how did that happen? What this tells us is, even if one doesn't understand the other person's language, it really doesn't matter. Music has the divine power to show the exact emotions of a musician; which others can appreciate, understand, and find harmony in.

For Little Black Book Delhi, I’ve collated a list of a few songs that epitomize the power of collaborations. As you go through and play the links, you will wonder how these musicians came together on a platform, in spite of differences in geographical and cultural backgrounds. But that’s where we find the magic of music; it becomes a universal language for people, where they no longer need words to make themselves understood.

Night Song |

An extreme example of how two really different and amazing musicians, Michael Brooks and Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan came together and recorded a master piece of an album. Though the whole album is highly recommended for music lovers, the song "Sweet Pain" is my personal favorite.  About this record, it can be said that "this album is like Pink Floyd and Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan coming together.”   

Remember Shakti |

Well who doesn't know the super group of legendary musicians like Ustaad Zakir Hussain, John McLaughlin, U.Shriniwas, Shankar Mahadevan and V.Salvaganesh! This group is a perfect example of really high class musicianship, where these God like musical giants leave their egos behind to create a magical soundscape, collaborating with each other so effortlessly - at least that’s what it sounds like. Earlier known as "Shakti," it is now known as "Remember Shakti".

Talvin Singh's HA |

Talvin Singh is a revolutionary name in the field of Tabla playing, who did not only take his instrument to the next level, but took Indian music to a universe that’s never been explored before. Talvin was one of the pioneers of collaborations, and of the Indian Electronica scene. This album features some really well-known artistes like Ustaad Sultan Khan, Rakesh Chaurasiya, U.Srinivas and many more.

Song | Abalonia, from the album HA

Massive Attack |

A duo consisting  Robert "3D" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall, it is considered the progenitor of the Trip Hop genre. This act is one of my favorites because of the way these two men work as producers\collaboration experts - it is just mind blowing! Here are links to two of their really famous songs, from their award winning album called Mezzanine.

Song | Tear Drop, featuring vocalist Elizabeth Frazer

Song | Angel, featuring Daddy G

Finally, a word of advice to music enthusiasts - one should try and explore different kinds and types of music, as much as possible, and shouldn’t get stuck with categorizing music into genres. In the end, it’s those same seven notes resonating everywhere. What makes it different is the perception of each individual… nothing else.


About the Author | The grandson of sarangi maestro Ustaad Sabri Khan and the eighth generation to carry on the sarangi tradition, Suhail Yusuf Khan gave his first ever public performance at the age of 11. Today, he has already performed on stage across the world with the likes of Steve Vai,Ustad Amjad AliKhan, Airto Moriera and Talvin Singh. The singer\song writer\sarangi player has played for Advaita, Jazz Aar, James Yorkston, and ensemble 'Adi Suhail Tarun' most recently.