Jim Ankan Deka, Founder and Director at Eastern Fare Music Foundation, talks to us about his institution, upcoming album release ‘Timeless’, his journey that led to its creation and his life as a musician. With the album set for Digital Distribution this month, here’s what Jim has to say:
IndiEarth: Courses in commercial and Western classical music is what Eastern Fare is all about. Tell us more about the Institution.
Jim: I started teaching music [guitar and keyboard] when I landed in Bangalore at the age of 14 and wanted to start something where people understand, learn and love music at the same time. I wanted to put forth career options in music through the institute in the fields of contemporary and Western classical music.
Eastern Fare Music Foundation got registered as a music institute and a production house in 2009. Since then, we have trained more than 2000 students. We provide opportunities to students and upcoming bands by recording and exposing their music on platforms including YouTube, Facebook etc.
Jim: Right in the first year of its conception, some of our students topped the Trinity Guildhall examinations in Bangalore. This saga has continued ever since. We have a hundred percent pass percentage so far. Also, many of the students ended up being teachers of the institute and now are known faces in the music scene of Bangalore.
IndiEarth: What career options do you see out there for young musicians today? How can they turn their passion, into a practical career option /way to earn a living?
Jim: There are huge opportunities for musicians today. It’s a happening industry. The only thing necessary is a willing heart to learn. One has to give time for practice; whether it’s vocals or any instrument. Lastly, keep making music and publishing them on the internet for people to understand the genre. Some lucrative career options as a musician are:
- Being part of a band – One can be a solo artist or create a band and keep track of event management companies for live shows.
- Teaching – Vocals or instruments. You can be certified through Trinity or Royal School of Music and do it full time. Every school is on the look out for music teachers.
- Composing or song writing - You need to be well trained with music technology and versatile with instruments. Many film-makers are always in search of new and pure music for their films.
- RJ/VJ/DJ - This requires you to be well informed on music and musicians from across the world. Good communication skills are a prerequisite.
- Music Research – Working as musicologist in research institutes.
- A new and vastly unexplored line is Music Therapy and working as a Music Librarian.
Jim: I come from a family who loves multitasking. My father the late Bhabananda Deka was a teacher, musician and writer. My mother Nalini Prava Deka is a poet, writer and social worker. My eldest brother is a musician, teacher and a doctor. It’s in my blood!
I used to love watching documentaries about nature, people and culture from my childhood and always thought the day I get a video camera or a movie camera, I will go out and capture everything that comes in front of lens. So I did. First, I covered the beautiful land of Shillong, and later the hills, people and culture of Nagaland. Now my wife Parmita Borah supports me in writing scripts for my films.
Music surrounded us and my family loved the radio. I would wake up listening to Bibidh Bharti on AIR. I got my first guitar at the age of four and gave my first performance in a school competition at the age of 8. After that, I knew, music was a part of me. I had my first album launched when I was 18 yrs old.
I loved taking photos from my childhood. When I was in the 8th standard, I was gifted a camera and I started clicking. Soon enough, my photos started getting published in different newspapers and journals including The Assam Tribune, Bismoy and The Dainik Asom.
IndiEarth: Tell us about the inspiration behind the creation of your album Timeless, and what we can expect in terms of musical genres, and influences?
Jim: Timeless is my first own production. Since 1998, I have composed more than 30 songs, but never felt the need of putting it across for people to listen. With a push from my wife and family, I decided to do it. Through the journey many friends supported me. Ritwika Bhattacharya, a singer from Bangalore, and I did 3 songs together. Renowned musician from Karnataka, Suchethan Rangaswamy joined me to form a band called Veena and we composed few tracks together.
Three of the tracks from the album, ‘Tere Bin Nahi Lagda’, ‘Ganga’ and ‘Independence Awakening’ are tributes to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Bhupen Hazarika and the National Anthem of India. The track ‘Eastwards’ is a collaboration with Suchethan Rangaswamy and we tried mixing acoustic rock with veena. I always loved guitarist Eric Johnson’s music and this track is influenced by him. The instrumental track ‘Remember Your Faith’ is based on a poem by an American poet and my dear friend Mardee Agen. I read one of her poems with the same title and the tune popped in my mind. I recorded that in 4 hours.
Most of the songs are pop and easy listening, while there are influences of world and rock music too in the album. The album is designed by artists Pranjal Baruah and Trinayan Bora and produced by Parmita Borah.
IndiEarth: Any upcoming gigs lined up where we can expect to hear tracks from the album?
Jim: Firstly, the launch of the album where we’ll will play tracks from the album for the first time. After, there will be an all India tour which is to be scheduled after Christmas.
The tracks will be available on the Internet probably from the mid of October for people to buy and download (thanks to Indiearth for being our Digital Distribution Partner) and couple of tracks are available for streaming on Reverbnation, Myspace, Soundcloud etc. Two of the music videos are available now on Youtube, Dailymotion, Asomtube and some other video portals.