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americanbazaaronline <> Lisa Tsering, India West <>Amann Khuranaa ‘‘The Times of India’’
India-based Ricky Kej's collaborated album Winds Of Samsara (on the Listen2Africa label) won the Best New Age Album trophy at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. Ricky teamed up with South African musician Wouter Kellerman for the album, which symbolises peace and harmony.The website of the album describes the project as a "truly global effort", which draws inspiration from two cultures. The music of the album blends in the creative influences of the cultures to generate a sound of calmness and positivity.
In the best New Age album category, “Winds of Samsara” is up against heavy-hitters Kitaro (“Symphony Live In Istanbul”), Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai (“Ritual”), Paul Avgerinos (“Bhakti,” an unusual collection of Greek Orthodox Christian and Hindu melodies from an Amma devotee), and Silvia Nakkach and David Darling (“Love and Longing”).
“Winds of Samsara” also reached the number one spot on Billboard’s charts Aug. 2, and remained in the top 10 for 12 weeks.
He was born in North Carolina and named Ram Kej, a shorter version of his family’s last name of Kejriwal, but his parents later decided he’d have an easier time of it with the name Ricky, so it stuck and it is now his legal name.
The Indian American composer and music producer Ricky Kej, (born 1982), is now settled in Bengaluru. A self-taught musician, Kej had previously composed soundtracks for Kannada films. 'Winds of Samsara' was his 14th studio album.
He made a debut at #1 on the US Billboard New Age Albums Chart earlier in the year in August, marking the first time an Indian-origin musician had made the cut in the category.
The album also peaked at #1 on the Zone Music Reporter Top 100 Radio Airplay Chart in the month of July.
Kej, whose parents are of Punjabi and Marwari origin, had moved back with his parents to Bengaluru when he was eight years old. He is an American citizen. Though he has composed the soundtrack for five feature films in the Kannada language, and is credited with over 3,000 placements for radio and television jingles, he is best known for composing the music for the 2011 Cricket World Cup opening ceremony, held at Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Winds-Of-Samsara-CoverWinds of Samsara was recorded over two years by Kej with over 120 musicians from five continents. The album weaves themes of world peace. It also spotlights the musical, cultural and political connections between India and South Africa from Mahatma Gandhi to Nelson Mandela.
“It is especially a proud moment for me to be nominated for a Grammy and to go down in history with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Enya and Enigma. It is exhilarating to represent my country in such a respectable forum.,” said Kej in a statement.
“This album is a dream come true for me, as it has challenged us as artists to push borders and to have the one common thread truly be the universal language of music. A recognition such as this humbles me and motivates me to continue spreading the message of peace and harmony through my music” he added.
Kej works within many musical genres. But within India, the New Age genre is almost unknown, he said.
“Any kind of non-film music is almost non-existent,” Kej told Lisa Tsering of India-West in an e-mail. “Even though I personally feel that New Age music does have an audience, there is no way to reach them because very few record stores stock CDs, and almost no TV or radio station plays any non-film music.”
“So it is not just [the] New Age genre which is absent, but there is a general absence of any music that is non-film,” he said.