Berklee Indian Ensemble Releases New Track “Lady L” Featuring Zakir Hussain, From Album SHURUAAT Out July 15th


Globally acclaimed Indian music collective Berklee Indian Ensemble release “Lady L”, the second single from their long-awaited debut album shuruaat (released July 15). The track features a Grammy-winning tabla master Zakir Hussain and also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the iconic Indo-jazz fusion band, Shakti, who originally released this song. Watch the Ensemble’s version of “Lady L” HERE and listen to the song on the DSPs on July 1st HERE.

Berklee’s rendition came in 2019, when Hussain received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music and collaborated on this iconic piece with the Ensemble.

Annette Philip, Founder/Director of the Ensemble shares: “Ustad Zakir Hussain is not only the most revered and prolific tabla master in the world; it lives and breathes rhythm. “Shakti” and “Remember Shakti” have always been essential musical anchors at Berklee. The soulful melody of “Lady L” piqued our curiosity and, in true Berklee Indian Ensemble style, our star musicians from Israel, Iran, Brazil, India, Poland, Australia and Norway have each brought their cultural influences to the table. Having Zakir Hussain himself perform with us on this Shakti tribute and BIE reinterpretation was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; both impressive and nerve-wracking.”

Echoing the sentiment of Philip, Emanuel Keller, cellist and liner notes producer, “Sharing the stage with Zakir Ji challenged us to be better and hone our communication skills by listening, observing, reacting and appreciating each offers.The music of ‘Shakti’ is built on these exact elements, prompting us to think in a similar musical way.

“And what better way to learn from a master than playing with him on the bandstand,” Philip wonders, of the mission that ignited these iconic artist residencies produced by the Berklee Indian Ensemble over the course of of the last decade.

“Lady L” represents the stylistic mission behind Shuruaat, which pays homage to Indian traditions while transforming songs with a variety of rhythms and multicultural nuances. Shuruaat’s music reflects the multinational and culturally diverse world in which we all reside, and has been central to the Ensemble’s goal of building bridges, prioritizing people who collaborate to create music, whatever regardless of type or form.

The Berklee Indian Ensemble began in 2011, founded by Philip, the first Indian musician appointed as a faculty member at Berklee College of Music. The group became a viral sensation with their groundbreaking 2014 tribute to Grammy and Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman’s “Jiya Jale” from the 1998 film Dil Se. The video has over 52 million hits. seen to date and has led to the Ensemble’s sold-out shows in the United States, Canada and India. This global demand has allowed the Ensemble to become a professional group in 2021, and the current formation is led by members representing India, Jordan, Israel, Nigeria, Indonesia, Norway, United States and other regions of the world. Shuruaat is the band’s first official album and features 10 songs that represent the Ensemble’s first decade together.

Zakir Hussain is the preeminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, beloved both in the percussion field and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon. A national treasure in his native India, he is one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians, renowned for his genre-defying collaborations in bands like Shakti, Masters of Percussion, the Diga Rhythm Band, Planet Drum, Tabla Beat Science, Sangam with Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland, in trio with Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer and, more recently, with Herbie Hancock. As a composer, he composed the music for many feature films, major events and productions and premiered three concertos. He has taught at Stanford, Princeton and UC Berkeley. On January 15, 2018, HarperCollins India released Zakir’s long-awaited oral memoir (available on Amazon), A Life in Music, by Nasreen Munni Kabir, the eminent British television producer, director and author.

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