Thursday, 27 January 2011

Sound Pundits: Fusing Music into an Experience

T.S. Eliot once said, “You are the music while the music lasts.” And for two Toronto-based deejays, this is a statement to live by.

Sound Pundits is the brainchild of two friends from Toronto, who hope to change the face of Bollywood music one listener at a time, with a keen interest on entertaining and engaging local Torontonians. Each month Ahmed Hashim and Ketan Chhatwani release a podcast online, which they describe as “an hour and a half long musical experience.”

“It has a clear beginning, middle and end,” says Hashim, who also likens the experience to “riding a musical wave”.

In a world where tracks are released by the second, and podcasts are available for every music enthusiast, from classical concertos to spoken-word poetry, Sound Pundits are quite likely to stand out.

Their goal is to make music that’s appropriate for any setting. “We want people to turn to the Sound Pundits when they’re working out, or if they’re preparing for a night on the town,” Hashim says. “Music is a movement, and we’re sure people will be moving as they listen to what we put together.”

Chhatwani and Hashim meticulously choose the music for each episode. They spend the month doing research and testing tracks. House, progressive and electronic beats are then blended with the latest from Bollywood, in what sounds like a musical fusion that captures the romance of the east and combines it with the pulse of the west.

“We credit all the deejays used in our podcast, and we let our listeners know what they’re listening to,” says Chhatwani, who hopes this project will change the way people listen to Bollywood music across the planet.

“We’re just two guys who want to bring you good music,” he explains. “Bollywood music is appreciated across the planet and by all cultures, but we want to let people know there’s more than just the basic banghra beats that seem so popular in the club scenes.”

When asked about the difference between Bollywood and bhangra music, the friends were quick to explain.

“Bhangra music energizes people from start to finish,” Chhatwani says. “It’s upbeat, and you know it will charge you up. Bollywood music is calmer and it has a definite story.”

So why mix beats into a calm story? Well, the two friends say this is the best way inject Bollywood into mainstream music.

“The electronic scene is huge in India,” Hashim says. “These tracks (mostly from movies) are already mixed by local deejays, but they rarely ever leave India. That’s where we come in.”

The two admit the name of their venture defines their vision. According to them “Every musician, every deejay is a Sound Pundit. They create the music, and we combine it together in a way that’s fun and easy to listen to.”

The two friends credit deejays on both sides of the planet for inspiring them into this craft. “We feature everyone from DJ Anoop, DJ Dev and DJ NYK — who just so happens to be the biggest deejay in India — to Canada’s very own Deadmau5,” Chhatwani says. “We’re actually in contact with some of the big names in the Indian club scene.”

They taught themselves everything from the art of mixing music, to creating a podcast online. And their hard work is definitely showing, with listeners tuning in every month from over 80 countries.

“People anticipate our episodes,” Hashim says. “We get messages asking when then next one will be available for download… it’s pretty exciting.”

And as they approach the one-year anniversary of their venture, their momentum simply continues to grow.
According to the duo, deejays send them samples of their work with hopes of being featured on an episode.

However, they’re also constantly on the lookout for new and emerging artists to feature as well. “We’re moving full speed ahead in 2011,” they say. “We have a lot of surprises in store for our listeners in the coming months, so we’re asking you to tune in… and stay tuned.”

You can check out their Facebook fan page for more booking information and latest news, or visit their SoundCloud page for all the latest releases.

Image courtesy of the Sound Pundits

Note: featured this article in their Entertainment section in Jan/2011.

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