Sabar is the third studio album by Shadow and Light, one of India’s most promising fusion music collaborations, comprising musical duo Anindo Bose and Pavithra Chari. The launch of the album, now live exclusively on Saavn, also marks the one-year anniversary for Saavn’s successful in-house original music program, Artist Originals (AO).
The album title is an adaptation of the Arabic word ‘Sabr,’ which means ‘patience.’
Listen to the album on Saavn.
We have been following the journey of the duo until today, where their music has gathered enough stimuli through life, to present their most recent and authoritative group of work – Sabar.
Loudest contributor, Gayathri Natarajan explores the journey of patience through the band’s own lenses.
The concept of Sabar
Gayathri: What was the origin of Sabar and the musical journey to it?
Shadow and Light: From the very beginning, we have focused on creating original music of the highest quality possible, while retaining our identity and creating a niche for our ‘sound’.
Sabar as a concept defines our journey so far. We’ve been writing and performing for five years now, and an incredible amount of hard work, passion and patience has gone into this project. Immediately after releasing our second album Elements, our next song ‘Samandar’ paved the way forward for this album.
Gayathri: How is your experience with Saavn Artist Originals so far?
S&L: There are some great people working at Artist Originals for Saavn. They have been supportive and understanding of all the chaotic schedules, and the various back and forth’s that come with releases. It’s our job to make the music, now we’re happy to have a responsible team take over the distribution and marketing of this content. We also respect the fact that they are promoting and pushing independent artists with their immense reach and supporting original music.
The Business of Music in India.
Gayathri: What is your opinion on the various platforms and opportunities available now, for a musician to release and market their music?
S&L: There are a lot of digital platforms available to promote new releases but few that can do a sustained promotion for the artist and keep creating associations. Streaming has almost taken over sales and as an artist, it is in our best interest to be able to monetize and track the streaming of our music.
Gayathri: What is the state of music business in India?
S&L: There is plenty of potential out there but the scene is really scattered. We seem to have a market for everything but it’s hard to reach out to the masses without having really good friends in the industry.
More often than not, we see the same artist lineup in all festivals but few are willing to try out or showcase newer/different artists.
Getting people to respond to calls, email and messages, getting things delivered on time – These are a few things that have been challenging as independent artists without the backing of a label or a big corporation. With our association with Saavn, we are hoping to do better on that front.
The brand of the artist needs to be created with a dedicated team backing them. The business can only grow when the vision is not limited to that ‘one’ big show of the season.
Quality content creation has become very important mainly in terms social media.
The Patience of Craft – Pavithra Chari
It is vital to spend as much time as possible mastering the craft. I believe in planning my riyaaz in a way that is most efficient in the time I get.
Gayathri: What are the biggest learnings under Shubha Mudgal Ji?
Pavithra: Being her disciple is a huge blessing, for there is always something to learn, even beyond music. I’ve observed the way she holds her ground with such confidence, the respect with which she treats all the other musicians/artists she works with, and how much she credits all the crew and support staff at each and every performance.
Gayathri: What are the practices that help you cope with the hectic life of a performing artist?
Pavithra: I panic and vent a lot! I am an expressive person and I don’t hold back when things go south. I also take time management very seriously. I make schedules and lists to organize my life. I draw detailed mandalas to calm down; I also enjoy doodling a lot. I immensely enjoy my time at the gym and I try to be as regular as I can when I’m not travelling.
Gayathri: What is your songwriting process. Where do your triggers come from?
Pavithra: My songwriting is a very fluent process, my lyrics are mostly a direct representation of my immediate state of mind. I often find myself questioning everything I see around me. In many cases I’m inspired by some of the most ordinary situations and reactions which happen around me that fuel a barrage of memories and thoughts, leading to the song.
Gayathri: What are your Indian classical music influences in Sabar?
Pavithra: I would say the whole album is an ode to my roots and my grounding in Hindustani and Carnatic classical music. All the songs find their essence in these genres and Sabar is closest to my classical influences so far.
The Patience of Sound – Anindo Bose
It all depends on how the song wants to unfold itself really. Sometimes I think the songs already exist and we are just connecting the dots.
Gayathri: How did Shadow and Light begin?
Anindo: Shadow and light happened completely by chance, there was no intention to make a new band or project, I just happened to meet Pavithra during an audition that I was holding for singers. She had sent me a little vocal demo, which really inspired me, and I wrote a musical arrangement over it. That turned out to be our very first song ‘Shadow and Light’. It was over time and many songs that we decided to write songs together and collaborate more often, all of it leading to this incredible journey.
Gayathri: How different is your arrangement process than, say, a decade ago?
Anindo: Our songwriting and sound is constantly evolving, we inspire each other when we write, be it the melody, lyrics or the arrangement. A decade ago I used to mostly make the musical arrangements first and then wait for someone to add melodies/lyrics to it. Now, I like writing a single instrument part along with the vocal lines that Pavithra comes up with and then build on the arrangement there after.
Gayathri: Tell us a little bit about extending the line up to include a drummer and a bass player.
We enjoy performing as a Duo as much as a Quartet. We’ve had some great vibe playing as a full band with our wonderful drum & bass section, Aveleon Giles Vaz and Steve Peter, at festivals. The bigger sound makes it even punchier. I enjoy programming a lot of layers and textures in the song, it may not necessarily be the easiest to play in a live setting. But they really take the time out, to get it right and enjoy the music. That’s what matters in the end.
Gayathri: How does a composition develop, your advice for musicians who work on arrangements.
Anindo: A composition is essentially the melody, and that needs to be complete by itself and should sound good even with minimal arrangements, everything else just lifts it further. At the same time, the arrangement also needs to be strong, such that even when the main melody is muted, it should still convey the theme of the song.
Sometimes one can hit a writer’s block and it’s best to then leave the idea and get back to it later, instead of trying to forcefully finish it. Working on another fresh idea or completely stepping away from music also helps if one is too saturated with certain compositions.
The fruit of patience?
The ongoing Sabar launch tour is seeing 6 cities in India. Post this, Shadow and light are looking forward to the release of an album with Karsh Kale, Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash.
Follow their journey here.