2.6 Evoke
 
Reach out with Tajdar Junaid

In partnership with A Humming Heart (AHH)

September 2021

Join our conversation with Tajdar Junaid and listen to his new track Reach Out with guitarist Warren Mendonsa’s project Blackstratblues.

Tajdar Junaid.jpg

Illustration by Jishnnu B

I. SMALL TALK

AHH:

Eight years since its release, what does What Colour is Your Raindrop? mean to you today? 

TAJDAR:

It still holds true to all the music I was hearing in my head back then. I still receive a lot of love from people all across the globe for that - letters, anecdotes, personal experiences. 

AHH:

You have been performing with Blackstratblues for several years but you only recorded with him now, when he is on a different continent. How did this happen? 

TAJDAR:

We have been playing together in each other's band for a very long time. In fact, I was a part of the first Blackstratblues India Tour way back in 2009-2010. He performed with me at my first NH7 performance as well. 

AHH:

When was the last live set you played in India

TAJDAR:

January 2020

II. BEHIND THE SCENES

Reach out was written during lockdown with the intention of reaching out to people I love. It was a difficult period. I wrote the piano and string parts and recorded my guitar in Calcutta after which I wrote to Warren, who is a very old friend of mine, to ask if he’d like to be a part of this. He had moved to New Zealand by that time. He added his wonderful guitar parts and harmonized a few lines. The music flowed very easily and wanted to communicate the feeling that everything will be alright in the end.

LISTEN TO TAJDAR JUNAID AND REACH OUT TO SOMEONE YOU LOVE

AHH:

How would you describe the mood of Reach Out

TAJDAR:

Reflective

AHH:

Did you make the effort of reaching out to friends and family during the forced isolation of 2020-21? 

TAJDAR:

Yes, in fact more so often than I would usually do during the rest of the year. It was out of concern and a need to assure them that everything will be alright soon and what matters most is that I love them and they have made a difference in my life. Life is short and life cannot go according to plans, that is what the pandemic taught me. Might as well appreciate and relish what we have right now.
 

AHH:

Do you think your existing bonds/friendships deepened in this period? 

TAJDAR:

One thing is for sure…we have a WhatsApp group of my school friends and my childhood buddies. That definitely got busier and funnier! 

AHH:

What sort of tools have now become essential in the age of virtual collaboration? 

TAJDAR:

Internet and imagination. Don't need much to be honest. 

"For the video I wanted to have movements, flow, and visceral images and I was in touch with a few animators, coders and artists. In the end I went ahead and worked with a brilliant animator from New York called Jason Ting. His work is very ethereal. He got the vibe for the song immediately and it took us about 3 months to complete the video.

III. SLAMBOOK

AHH:

What is your favourite instrument to play right now? 

TAJDAR:

Few of them: Guitar, Ron Roco, and Orchestration

AHH:

What was the last instrument you learned? 

TAJDAR:

I was gifted an Oud from Syria by a friend so trying to understand that

AHH:

Which musical piece is your most loved/valued possession? 

TAJDAR:

Chopin's Prelude in E minor

AHH:

Which place makes you feel the most inspired? 

TAJDAR:

Being amidst nature

AHH:

Best place you have travelled to? Why? Can you share an experience? 

TAJDAR:

So many it is not easy to write about one. Ziro and Dambuk in Arunachal are definitely some of the few pristine places I've been to. I would sleep in a tent and wake up and pluck oranges for breakfast right from the tree above the tent. Scotland is another magnificent place with some fabulous landmarks.

About Mysticeti’s friends

Tajdar Junaid is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer with roots in Calcutta. The song 'Daastan' from his critically acclaimed debut album What Colour Is Your Raindrop (2013) featured in Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf's film The President, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2014. Junaid’s music has also featured in Academy Award winner Emma Thompson’s film Sold. He has worked with Aparna Sen, Moushumi Bhowmik, Karsh Kale, Amyt Datta, Warren Mendonsa, Blackstratblues, and Rituparno Ghosh. His work in Mukti Bhawan was also nominated for a Filmfare Award for Best Background Score

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A Humming Heart (AHH) is an Indian music publication which talks about both film and non-film music, with a heavy focus on the independent music industry. Since their inception in 2017, they have covered a wide range of music from different parts of India and hope to expand their coverage without any biases or boundaries. 

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Jishnnu B creates visualization, illustrations and immersive narratives