“A lot of the time the best music you make is not really something that you planned” – Warren Mendonsa, on their new song, ‘Ode To A Sunny Day/Hallelujah’ out on Feb 24, on NH7!
Karsh Kale and Warren ‘Blackstratblues‘ Mendonsa have collaborated to create a cover of Jeff Buckley/Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ (with Kale on vocals) which is performed over Blackstartblues song ‘Ode To A Sunny Day’ (from The New Album).
This is not the first time Kale and Mendonsa have worked together as the duo performed together at York Live Festival in Nasik. Kale was headlining the Nasik festival. The two also performed together when Kale curated the NH7 All-Stars set at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender.
Since the release of Kale’s 2011 album Cinema, the Indian-American producer and composer has been fairly busy, in and out of the country like a fiddlers elbow. Last year, he worked with Midival Punditz as music directors for the film Soundtrack. He featured in the penultimate episode of the first season of The Dewarists where he collaborated with guitarist Baiju Dharmajan (ex-Motherjane and ex-Wrenz United) and edakka drum master, Njeralathu Harigovindan, on their song ‘Sacred Science’ (watch the video here). Post his appearance at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, he even made a surprise appearance on stage with Imogen Heap at her gig in Blue Frog, Mumbai (photos here). In January this year, he plotted an India tour for his album Cinema, where he headlined the York Live Festival to promote his album (the lowdown here).
Now, Warren Mendonsa has also been turnin’ tricks around the block, hopping between festivals – Blackstratblues opened the second day of the Mahindra Blues Festival 2012 (pics here, video here), performed at York Live Festival, Sula Fest, and the Bacardi NH7 Weekender – along with his most recent performance at Blue Frog (review here, pics here).
We spoke to Mendonsa about working with Kale
It’s kind of amazing that we hit it off so well. First of all, I think he is an amazing drummer and musician above all else. On top of that he’s got the most amazing voice, so life is just not fair. And all the girls find him hot including my girlfriend.
Mendonsa also told us about how they put the song together
All he (Karsh Kale)’s doing is taking the lyrics from the Leonard Cohen song, not the melody. So he’s taking the lyrics from that and creating his own melody and phrasing to work with ‘Ode To A Sunny Day’… When he sang it to me, I was like wow. That could actually put the song across to people who usually might not listen to it. For me, I love instrumental music and a lot of people need words to listen to a song. The lyrics themselves are timeless, and it’s coming from a very strong place emotionally.
A lot of the time the best music you make is not really something that you planned. And it’s not like you have a lot to do with it yourself. It’s almost bigger than you are, like you’re picking something up and it goes, whoosh, through you. So, you just have to make sure that you’re not adding any of your ego or preconceptions and stuff like that, to it. Your job is just to deliver it to the world, and you can’t really take credit for it.
Check out Mendonsa’s original track ‘Ode To A Sunny Day’ below.
Karsh Kale tells us about how he fell in love with Mendonsa’s song and what inspired it’s amalgamation with ‘Hallelujah’
It was on our trip to Pune to rehearse and perform at the finale of the NH7 weekender that I heard ‘Ode to a Sunny Day’ for the first time. As it does most people that hear it, it struck me as I was already in this reflective mood as I was to visit my ill grandmother the day after the show. Of all the music that occurred, including our concert, that song stayed with me after leaving the festival and back to NY. Upon returning to India in Jan, I had decided that I would record a song on ‘Ode’ and ‘Hallelujah’. It just kind of came out naturally. Warren heard it and agreed that this should be shared. So hear it is.
Kale and Mendonsa’s ‘Ode To A Sunny Day/Hallelujah’ will be released for free download on Friday, Feb 24th, right here on NH7.in. So keep your eyes peeled.
Till then, we leave you with a video of their performance together at York Live Festival.
Blackstratblues will feature at the Kingfisher beer up on Feb 28 in Mumbai. More about that here.