While traversing through the depths of solitude within musical realms, sitar maestro Prem Joshua discovered purity in the transcendental nature of melodies. Known for disintegrating grandiose melodies into its simplest form, the musician has merged elements of ancient traditional music and contemporary Western sounds. Pulsating with raw energy, his soundscapes are a sculpted maze of dense melodies and fluid textures. "There is magic in music and once you are caught by this magic it doesn't matter if you are an artiste or a listener. You can't stop yourself from being mesmerised by the wonderful sensation. Music will always consume you and it tends to start a journey of its own. It connects us with a higher force. It is extremely intoxicating. And, as an artiste, you are driven by this force; by this search; by this quest for meaning. There is so much joy in exploring music," said the German artiste who made India home years ago. We catch up with Prem Joshua who performed in the city recently.
Silence is the key: According to him, his music fundamentally consists of raag and taal. So, it comes as no surprise that simplicity and benevolence form the backbone of his musical structures. Since his is an international band, the group tries to seamlessly combine different aspects of musicality with various genres like rock, jazz, reggae and funk. He truly believes that music comprises many levels and an artiste often looks for singularity or individuality within the complex spheres of music. But, as an artiste, what is he trying to achieve in his life through music? "The greatest musicians have always compared silence to the highest form of music. India has discovered that silence and I think that is one of the greatest gifts of India to the world. Undoubtedly, next to silence comes music. As a matter of fact, music embellishes silence. And, it is that component of silence within musical elements that enables us to truly appreciate the beauty of inner peace. That is how I would define my journey, so far," said Joshua who further added that melodies have mysterious aura around them and often evolve to a point beyond human comprehension. Moreover, in the process of learning and unlearning, one often develops an intimate relationship with something as pure as art and music.
All about love: Like all musicians, he too is convinced that the answer to all our problems is unconditional love. Though he was named Joshua by his parents, he decided to add Prem to it to remind him of the essence of love. In fact, it was Pandit Ravi Shankar's enchanting melodies that introduced him to the hypnotic sounds of the sitar. "He was my first contact to Indian classical music. His sounds absolutely fascinated me. It changed my life because it opened up new portals of melodies. At one point, I felt the sounds wrapping me and engulfing me to a point where I decided to let go and see where the music takes me. It really wasn't my decision to become an artiste. Music made that decision for me. It chose my path. And, that's what brought me to India at the age of 18. To be honest, I felt that I belonged here from the very first day," he said with a smile.
The pristine oceanic depth of his sounds lures one into a world of unexplored musical territories; the echoes of melodic waves throbbing beneath creamy textures takes one on a journey to serenity. Imbued with lush hues, his music is a celebration of our existence; of our ability to aspire and hope. Wrapping all senses with melodies that exude tones of warmth and compassion, his vibrant compositions are always infused with understated spirituality. Seeking beauty within the cosmic cycle of rhythms; Joshua's songs are drenched in intricate melodic patterns that capture the crux of mankind's soul. "I have embarked on this journey to become a better human being. If a person doesn't strive to deepen the search or seek answers within the mystery of life, then his existence ceases to have any meaning. When an artiste stops doing that, he stops being an artist. And, it is this sincerity that makes all the difference," said Joshua.
So, what does the future have in store for Prem Joshua? "There is no plan. Songs will always mature and ripen on the move. I just want to explore the more intimate side of music and connect with people," he signed off.