Vocalist Ranjana Ghatak writes about Open Souls, a collaboration with Jason Singh and Seb Rochford, part of the Spitalfields Summer Festival. Friday 7 June, 8.00pm-10.00pm at Bishopsgate Institute:
I’m really looking forward to the gig, it’s always a lot of fun playing with this band! We’re all fans of the festival, we have taken part in it in different guises – so what an honour to be playing the opening night!
I was born and raised in London, my parents came over from Kolkata in India over 40 years ago. I grew up listening to a lot of Indian classical and folk music, in addition to jazz, classical and pop. I studied music in school till I was 18, alongside learning Indian vocal music in London. I then went to India and started learning with Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty when I was 22. That time really opened things up for me, and really started to understand the voice and connect with a particular sound.
Open Souls is a bit of a dream for me, as its a sound that I really connect to. It’s a soundscape made up of textures and worlds that we all feel very close to.
We released a FREE DOWNLOAD a week ago, that is a taster of some of what next week will be about.
We came together as a band 2 years ago, almost by accident. I had been collaborating with Jason Singh, and both he and Seb Rochford independently spoke highly of each other’s music and playing. They had decided to have a jam one Sunday afternoon, and I went along to meet them in order to go to a gig together. The jam was in full flow when I got there, and Jason passed me the mic. We carried on playing for a while, and it felt incredibly natural. About an hour later, Open Souls was born!
I’ve been touring with this band, in addition to playing with a quartet that I have with Asaf Sirkis, Ruth Goller and Nick Ramm. I recently came back from Holland, touring a project led by Maarten Ornstein which guested Shabaka Hutchings and myself.
The Spitalfields Music team have been amazing to work with. Really supportive, and they’ve been very open in thinking creatively about the performance which is a real treat.
We’ve been developing material over the the last year, and looking forward to sharing it next week.