On a wave of success

On a wave of success

They are truly taking Indian music to newer heights, by proving themselves on a global platform. Indo-Canadian band Lehera has emerged as a winner in the World .

Fusion Genre at the World Music Awards. The band comprising Prakash Sontakke, Karthik Mani and Prashant John, will be heading to New York in February to receive the award. Prakash speaks to Metrolife on the band’s future plans, and reveals the common love for music that the trio shares.

“We are very excited,” exclaims Prakash, who is happy to see a number of Indian musicians getting global recognition. “Indian classical music is one of those rare forms, which has the elements of every other genre of music like hip-hop, rap and rock. So when Indian classical musicians perform in the West, they are able to interact quickly with the audience.”

Lehera was formed in 2004 when Prashant John based in Canada came to Mysore to attend a yoga camp. Prashant and Prakash met each other through common friend Ravi Shankar Mishra and spoke at length about music. “We met in my house and even played with each other. As Prashant says, our progression happened the same way as one musical note leads to the other,” he laughs.

Gradually, Karthik Mani joined them as the percussionist of the band. “After two rehearsals, we thought why not hit the studio instead of simply jamming.” This recording was taken to Canada by Prashant, and as they say the rest is history. The three decided to call themselves Lehera as the term means a small, melodic cycle or a rhythmic loop.
The trio performed first at the Long Island Festival in 2006 followed by many more shows. The three even performed at the East West festival for the Bangalore School of Music in 2007. “We recorded our first album Heartsky in Vancouver, Canada, which was ready by 2008.”  The music of Heartsky is a genuine amalgamation of Hindustani, Carnatic, blues and progressive jazz. “Fusion seems to be the music of the future as everybody can relate to it. We have people from all ages — kids, college students and senior Carnatic musicians appreciating our work.”

Ranging from Pink Floyd to Zakir Hussain, the inspirations of the band are as versatile as their music. But an artist who is the favourite of all the three is Salif Keta, whom the band wishes to work with in future. “I can even picturise the kind of song that would emerge from the collaboration between Lehera and Salif Keta,” laughs Prakash.  The band is now planning to broaden the horizons of music, with their new album. “We will be experimenting with different sounds by inviting new and talented musicians to perform with us,” says Prakash. The band will also be performing in Bangalore. Prakash, who left his profession as an engineer to pursue music, sums it all by saying, “Music is my hobby, pastime and profession.”

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