They say music is the path to reach the divine. It’s the soul to make peace with what we seek.
And that which is sought passionately – is hailed as divine.
But what if the ‘divine’ existed amongst us? Ever wondered how would that be?
That said, could it be that all this time, in our surge to seek a higher existence, we’ve been drifting away whilst true harmony, lies somewhere besides us?
But while some could look away, seeking their purpose in things not necessarily lyrical, a sort of reassurance can be sought in music: in the harmony that binds us to it.
Or, in the deft touch, it lends to soothe the soul.
Precisely with this earnest endeavour, “The Manta Sidhu Ensemble”- a Singer –Songwriter Harmony group from Delhi is creating music. Rather, a soul-stirring sound echoed by the talent of exceptionally talented musicians and stroked by the power of poetry and some fine writing.
The Manta Sidhu Ensemble is a mélange of 6-members, featuring- 3 gifted vocalists and musicians who seem adept at creating a soothing concoction of delectable sound and melody.
Earlier this year, The Manta Sidhu Ensemble released its debut EP.
While for many May 24, 2017- wasn’t just any other day, for The Manta Sidhu Ensemble it was the D-day, albeit one marked with a fluent drive to present the world, a fine rendering from its repository of infinite musical talent. The debut EP, a first among the many to follow, includes 5 songs.
At around May, fans of The Manta Sidhu Ensemble were treated to 2 singles as well.
The hummable and captivating sounds of ‘Wild Flower’ and ‘Fire and Ice’, hold the power to draw the most petulant and nervy amongst us.
And thus far, with 7 singles out for audiences’ ear-pleasure, an optimistic journey of The Manta Sidhu Ensemble has begun. But that said, where most bands, whether you traverse the pages of the ‘have-been’ or many amongst popular contemporary culture are based on the potency of a central figure, The Manta Sidhu Ensemble builds its energy; finds its purpose by echoing the talent of each of its 6 souls.
There’s Manta Sidhu – Voice, Guitar, Jazmine Saxena – Voice, Keys, Sherry Mathews- Voice, Nathalie Ramirez – Flute, Reuben Narain – Percussion, Drums, and Rahul Rai – Bass.
All songs have been produced and recorded by Reuben Narain.
Shedding some light and sprinkling some lyric on The Manta Sidhu Ensemble’s journey thus far was the beautiful and selfless Manta Sidhu, who told What’s Up Life about how the Ensemble got together, what draws them to music and, all that jazz, soul and, rhythm.
Excerpts from our conversation
Since how long have you been singing and creating music?
I started getting serious about singing during college days. But did not pursue it full time for a while, since I went on to study journalism and started work with a start-up media house. In 2010 I took the decision of attempting to pursue music full time and see where it takes me. Writing songs began at that point, as it came instinctively to me and felt like a creatively fulfilling practice.
Are there any inspirations or anyone that stimulates thinking and your craft? Or, musical heroes?
I grew up listening to Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits and the like. The artists I got inclined towards all happened to be singer-songwriters. I’m not sure how much these artists influence my songwriting today. Songwriting is pretty much a process of assimilation from every type of music you hear and get inspired from over time, some at a conscious level and some at a sub-conscious level.
Would it be right to suggest that your band is an essence of eclectic sounds and genres such as Folk, Jazz etc?
The music of the Ensemble is certainly influenced by a variety of styles. Given that the musicians in the Ensemble all come from different musical backgrounds, it is inevitable for their personal taste and style to get integrated into the songs at the point when the music is getting arranged and taking its complete shape. Its safe to say that this EP will give a listener a sense of multiple genres integrated into one, under the broader umbrella of Pop/Singer-Songwriter/Acoustic music. There is a little bit of everything in this EP.
When did you decide to form your band? Was it the next logical step after your stint with creating music or perhaps having written songs?
The Ensemble came together in the summer of 2016. By then, I had a bunch of songs I’d written that I wanted to build on further through a unique collaboration of musicians. The idea was to create a true voice ensemble, rich with vocal arrangements and harmonies. This added to the fun of working on this project. It was different, fresh and unique as much as it was challenging and demanding of a lot of time. Having said this, I am extremely thrilled to have our first EP in hand within the first year of this project’s initiation. I am presently working on shaping the material for the Ensemble’s second album, which we will start recording this July.
Do you also plan to take your band beyond India? Or are you already performing outside of the country?
The Ensemble has not performed outside the country yet. We do plan on trying our hand at scoring a few gigs abroad and are curious to check out the response.
Every song or perhaps every lyric or written word stems from a space around an idea or an experience for some. Kindly share something about your story/journey.
I have no story that links my lyric to my life in any direct way. As you pointed out, the words do in fact stem from a space or an idea, which may be symbolic in a direct or indirect way of the writer’s personality, a state of mental being, physical surroundings and life experiences. I guess for me, it is really a mashed up manifestation of all of these put together. I do find it true, however, that a musician’s lyrics can give a peek into his or her personality and nature of thought. For instance, you will not see me write a song about partying on a Saturday night.