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Switzerland-based Indian vocalist Bijayashree Samal’s song ‘Chand Ke Phool’ heralds hope


The single features in the international album, ‘Beyond Music’ Vol.3 to release on June 17

Bijayashree Samal is excited and with good reason. Her Hindi song ‘Chand Ke Phool’ is among three singles selected to promote the international album, Beyond Music Vol.3 – Conflict to release on June 17. Arranged and produced by four-time Grammy award-winners Michael League and Bill Laurance (of the Snarky Puppy collective) with Nic Legacy and Gonzalo Donoso Quiroga, the album is based on the theme, conflict. Portraying conflicts through music, the album features 16 songs by 54 artistes from 40 countries.

“The producers decided to release three singles as promotion before the album’s release. I am fortunate that ‘Chand Ke Phool’ is one of the tracks to be released worldwide as a single and a video,” shares Bijayashree, over an email interaction. The Switzerland-based vocalist is also part of the Nandighosha band that produces and performs music where original Indian classical-meets-jazz.

Platform to connect and collaborate

Bijayashree was invited to join Beyond Music in 2019. Set up by the Swiss non-profit Beyond Foundation, the platform is backed by singer Tina Turner and other international artistes.

The selected musicians get a chance to work and record for an international music album produced and sponsored by the Foundation. A total of 140 songs and 850 professional musicians from different countries took part in the Beyond Music Vol.3 album submission.

‘Chand Ke Phool’ was conceptualised in the summer of 2021, in a hotel room, during Bijayashree’s visit to India. While in quarantine, she received an email from Canada-based musician Nic Legacy inviting her to work on this project. Initially, she was reluctant, as she was dealing with a challenging phase where she lost her father, her mother-in-law and three other close relatives. . “I gave it a try just to get back to normal life,” she recollects. The final production of the song began in December 2021.

Diverse musicians

Nandighosha band performing at a concert
| Photo Credit: special arrangement

The artists involved in Beyond Music Vol.3 – Conflict are as diverse as their views on the theme of conflict. “Their approach to the musical leitmotif too are different,” says Bijayashree. One song addresses ‘the global refugee crisis, another focusses on the ‘ecological conflict between humans and planet Earth,’ she explains, “Some songs embody “conflict” through their instrumental arrangement, others through the clash of different musical styles. Most of the pieces are about inner chaos tied to the challenge of finding one’s place in this turbulent world. The compositions are methods of dealing with conflict and transforming it into music, the one language that connects us all. The album is a genre-bending fusion of funk, jazz, pop and world music.”

‘Chand Ke Phool’ has been written by Nic, Bijayashree (Indian lyrics) and Gonzalo. The song has Nic on glockenspiel and dholak, Gonzalo on ukulele and Žofie Kašparová (Czech Republic) on the flute, “We are so different in terms of our background, but our sensibilities towards music and humanity are the same “We have become great friends while working on this track, learning about different aspects of each other’s music.”

Nadighosha band performing at World Economic Forum, Davos

Nadighosha band performing at World Economic Forum, Davos
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Bijayashree explains that this unique Indian/Andean-Cumbia song is inspired by the ‘giant-impact hypothesis’, a theory that suggests the earth and moon were once one planet that was broken into two by a monstrous collision with another planet. “The song talks about the hope and belief to make things possible amidst adversity, fear, complexities and limitations and to rise above the inner conflicts to scale greater heights.”

Music as a passion and profession

Bijayashree teaches Hindustani classical vocal in Ateliers D’ethnomusicologie, in Geneva and Zurich, and online. While she composed music for the recent Criminal series by Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) Switzerland, she is also an independent music collaborator for commercial projects.

Her earlier tryst with an international album was in 2019 with five-times Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein for the album Same Sky, Vol1 (Beyond Music) which was on in the iTunes World Music Chart, #1 in the United States and Top 10 internationally. The video of the song ‘Our Colors’ where she was involved as a singer/composer, was released by Billboard magazine. That album was submitted to the Grammys in two categories — ‘Best World Music Album’ and ‘Best Producer of the year’ (non-classical).

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