He is quite a player

Last Updated : 08 August 2015, 18:47 IST
Last Updated : 08 August 2015, 18:47 IST

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Young and extremely talented, musician Tajdar Junaid is someone who is constantly exploring. It’s best not to categorise or label music, he says. In his words, “Music and art should be enjoyed and savoured — the way you savour good tea; you don’t analyse and label it.”

He feels emotions should not be bartered for words like rock, jazz and fusion. This finds resonance in his creations, be it the popular album ‘What Colour Is Your Raindrop’ or his music in international films like The President, by renowned Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and Sold, by Oscar-winning director Jeffrey Brown, and Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson.

Talking of influences on his music, Tajdar relates, “I have been fortunate enough to be born in times where I can hear new music that I could have never otherwise come across.” He admits that the internet is an absolute boon. “I have always been curious about music I haven’t heard before, and look forward to watching and absorbing different art forms. Whenever I listen to music that moves me, I read up about the artistes and their inspiration, and go on a trail to discover new musicians on the way. Say, if you were to ask me, Eric Clapton led to Buddy Guy who led to Howlin Wolf who led to Blind Lemon Jefferson.”

Album talk

In the manner in which his debut album ‘What Colour Is Your Raindrop’ shaped up, Tajdar says, “I had an urge to tell my stories and keep them interesting so that every time a person re-visited the space, he would read a new line or met a new character.”

He emphasises yet again that his taste in music is broad and that he loves to “marry different cultures together, which is why in this album different instruments such as duduk from Armenia, charango from Bolivia, and the sarangi from India are used.”

To this he adds, “I was brutally honest to all the sights and sounds I heard in my head and heart. If a song needed silence (like the song Dastaan), I respected it. After all, silence is a huge part of our lives.” This multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer and producer plays the guitar, charango, mandolin, ukulele and is in the process of acquiring a ronroco from Argentina. He considers collaborating with Emma Thompson, Jeffrey Brown and Mohsen Makhmalbaf as his biggest achievements so far.

Mighty collaboration

In the past, Tajdar had collaborated with the likes of Amyt Datta, Blackstratblues, NZ songwriter Greg Johnson, Karsh Kale, folk singer Moushumi Bhowmik, Fred White from Acoustic Alchemy and Anusheh Anadil. He has also been a part of many award-winning soundtracks for films by Anurag Kashyap productions, Aparna Sen and Rituparno Ghosh.

When asked about the role his childhood must have played on the music he has composed, Tajdar coveys an interesting insight. “Friends have often told me that my music makes them nostalgic. I don’t quite know how this happens, as I am not tapping into any childhood memories when I compose. But it comes from a place where I don’t judge ideas when it “happens”. As a child, and it was a normal childhood spent playing in parks and going for the occasional family picnic, I loved Argentine footballer Maradona and wanted to grow up to be a footballer. That was until I heard Led Zeppelin and got sucked in.

Over the years, at various stages, there have been great inspirations,” he says and adds, “I am indebted to my guitar teacher Amyt Datta, then Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Chopin, and all the blues’ greats for showing me the strength to carry on for the love of it.”

Tajdar is working on his next album these days and  “I totally believe the universe will conspire to bring it together!” He has also composed a song for Kinley, featuring Papon, which will be available on television soon.

“Performing live at various cities is a priority right now,” he states. “Kalki Koechlin’s new play, The Living Room, features my music. And there are talks about an interesting film project,” he adds.

This talented musician winds up with the note, “Music has been my best friend and sanctity for years.”

You can listen to Tajdar’s music on soundcloud.com/tajdarjunaid

Published 08 August 2015, 16:06 IST

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