Sanjay Divecha has been around in the music business for a long time to know what sounds and feels good.
The Blues guitarist has played with guitar masters worldwide and now he will be performing with his band ‘Secret’ at the NCPA’s Experimental Theatre. But before he takes the stage tomorrow for his show, we got to interview him and here’s what he had to say:
The Sherp: Hi Sanjay. For starters, how does it feel to perform at an iconic venue like NCPA?
Sanjay Divecha: The NCPA is definitely one of the most amazing and well-respected concert venues in the country. It’s a huge honour to be performing at the Experimental Theatre, which is an intimate setting and will be well-suited to our performance.
The Sherp: Do you think NCPA is establishing itself as a platform that showcases variety music? What are your views on the same after having performed at several venues globally?
Sanjay Divecha: In recent years, the NCPA has been able to support and provide a platform for a wide variety of musical styles and genres. This has been a huge contribution towards the music scene and a great benefit for the audience.
The Sherp: Did you see yourself establishing a career in music or did it just happen to you? Where did it all begin for you?
Sanjay Divecha: The first inspiration was always listening to good music. The music that was being played at home was Indian classical, western classical, rock and pop music. My first musical training was playing the sitar from age 10 to 15. I started playing the guitar at age 16. At first, I did not know that music would be my career. However, over the years, I realised it was my calling and I never looked back. The musical experiences I was having were so intense that I instinctively knew that it was something I had to pursue.
The Sherp: You and your band ‘Secret’ have taken fusion music to a whole new level by fusing international and Indian sounds together. What inspired you to walk down this path?
Sanjay Divecha: The music of ‘Secret’ borrows from the classical traditions of India (both Hindustani & Carnatic). My other influences from the west are jazz, funk, blues, African & Brazilian amongst others. We also use various languages from India. After having lived in Los Angeles for 15 years, I returned back to India in 2003. It was the perfect time for me to start this journey of exploration and study. I also had a large group of Indian musicians to work and collaborate with. Most importantly, I found an identity with my sound which I am still refining.
The Sherp: Tell us about your band ‘Secret’. What brought you all together and what keeps you all together.
Sanjay Divecha: ‘Secret’ was formed 4 years back. After releasing my album ‘Full Circle’ in 2009, I started to hear a more acoustic, organic sound in my head. The influences would be the same (blending elements from India and the west), but the treatment would be acoustic. A decision was made to not use drums and instead only use hand percussion. Also, I would play more acoustic guitar. This treatment gave the music a certain colour which was refined over the last few years. Chandana Bala on vocals, Sanket Naik on percussion and Sonu Sangameswaran on bass were the first to join the project. We then felt the need to add another vocalist so Raman Mahadevan joined. After recording the recently released album, we decided to add a keyboard player, and tubby (Indrajit Sharma) joined. The music is exciting for us all and that’s what keeps the band together and motivated. There is sense of belief in what we do.
The Sherp: You have extensively toured with the biggest artists as a guitarist. Describe the relationship you share with you guitar.
Sanjay Divecha: The guitar is the instrument on which I have had all my musical training. It is what allows me to express the music that I hear in my head and heart. When I am performing, it is an extension of who I am.
The Sherp: What does 2017 have in store for you? What can your fans look forward to?
Sanjay Divecha: We hope to be performing to a wider audience, both here in India as well as abroad in 2017.
(You can catch Sanjay Divecha and his band “Sanjay & Secret” at the NCPA Experimental Theatre on Saturday, 14th January, 2017 at 7 pm. Get your tickets here.)