NEARLY a decade ago, something unusual happened in the musical bylanes of Bollywood. Three disparate musical talents — each with some success in the world of music — came together to form the industry's first music "supergroup".
Classically-trained artist Shankar Mahadevan, blues-rock guitarist Ehsaan Noorani and jazz-loving keyboard player Loy Mendonsa joined hands to create what fans of Hindi film music now know as Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
The trio will perform at the Esplanade Concert Hall on Saturday.
"They (Ehsaan and Loy) were established music composers in the advertising industry and I used to sing for them," Shankar told Today over the phone from Mauritius, where the trio were performing. "We 'vibed' very well and then Mukul Anand offered us a film, Dus, and that's where the story began."
Though the untimely death of its director meant Dus (1997) was not released, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music became a hit.
In bringing fresh energy and style to Hindi film music, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy echoed the sensibilities of a young, effervescent India with the foot-tapping music of Dil Chahta Hai (Do Your Thing, 2001).
Their recent successes include Kal Ho Na Ho (Tomorrow May Never Come, 2003), Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (Never Say Goodbye, 2006) and Don (2006).
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are able to maintain the freshness of their music because of eclectic influences drawn from the East and the West. "You can't have only film music influence to do film music. That's when you fail miserably," he said.
The team has also been trying their luck as solo artists. Shankar's album, Breathless, owes some of its success to its inclusion of a song where he sings for over three minutes without pausing to take a breath.
Still, the trio have no plans to go their separate ways anytime soon.
"We are planning an album as Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and will launch it next year," said Shankar, who will be making the latest of many trips to Singapore. However, the concert on Nov 11 will be his first show here as part of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
"People are going to have a blast and they are going to enjoy every song in the repertoire," said Shankar.
Published in Today.