Ragatip’s ‘Spiritual Bridges’ album is set for worldwide release in March 2021. Using devotional music from different faith groups, the team has brought together gospel and in the UK for a unique, first-of-its-kind musical project to spread a during the pandemic.
The first single launched on November 13 to coincide with the of Dhanteras ahead of Diwali, featuring UK-based Indian classical musician Drupti Vaja and gospel singer Nathaniel Morrison. ‘Mara Ghat Ma X Joy to the World’ marks the start of this for global listeners.
“When we went into the studio, I had no idea something so beautiful would be created,” shares Raj Mistry, Co-Founder of Ragatip.
“Fusion is an often dismissed and confused concoction of two types of music, but I honestly feel that this record truly reflects the very best of Indian and gospel musical traditions.”
As lifelong lovers of Indian music, it is the mission of Ragatip to grow a community that understands and appreciates the diversity of art forms within the country. Ragatip was co-founded by Raj Mistry and Jagdeep Shah, both of whom have had a strong innate inclination towards Indian music from a young age and have contributed significantly to the Darbar Festival over the last five years.
“We get so many streams from parts of and Europe, so we know that people are enjoying these sounds globally. A real win would be if we could influence their understanding of the stories and culture behind the sounds of India.”
Inspired by Jagdeep Shah’s father Kantibhai Shah, who was one of the pioneers of the 1980s, responsible for bringing Indian classical music to the UK and onto national platforms like Channel 4, Raj and Jagdeep have been champions of Indian music for over 20 years. Kantibhai played a big part in bringing the , Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha, on tour around the UK four decades ago.
“Talvin Singh and Nitin Sawhney did it in the 90s, but who is cultivating today’s audiences? Our main mission is to open the eyes of the west and reboot the excitement for fusion music and encourage people to understand the art forms that exist in our roots.”
Like many , Ragatip’s musical work came to a standstill when the pandemic hit. However, co-founders Raj and Jagdeep thought quickly and innovatively about how they could support a struggling community of musicians. They came up with an idea of facilitating recorded work and giving people the opportunity to raise money and express their creativity.
“Lockdown goes against the grain of what we’re meant to be as humans – social – and there was a lot of disenchantment in society with Covid-19, and Black Lives Matter protests. A lot of our artists had the added strain of their incomes coming to a halt, so we knew we had to do something to promote uplift and create a sense of harmony, togetherness and positivity.”
Using Hindu and Christian devotional music and mixing the sounds melodically, Raj and Jagdeep have brought musicians together throughout lockdown to contribute to the ‘Spiritual Bridges’ album. They are using the profits to support the musicians during this time where their incomes have been significantly stunted.
The first single of the album featured Indian classical, devotional and folk musician Drupti Vaja, who is also a full-time senior nurse in Birmingham where she was most recently in the thick of the pandemic supporting patients suffering from Covid-19. Together with the Artistic Director of The West End Gospel Choir, Nathaniel Morrison, they have sung on “Mara Ghat Ma X Joy to the World”.
“This came at a time for Drupti when she was thinking of giving up music due to the heaviness of everything that is going on in the world right now and the pressure of her job on the frontline.”
Through this project, Raj and Jagdeep seek to open doors for the artist community and for meaningful audiences.
“We want to shine light onto the lives and beliefs behind the sounds, encourage fresh perspectives on the issues that we’re currently going through and show the spirituality of the creative process in our music.”
*Stay up to date on Ragatip’s work and the ‘Spiritual Bridges’ album release, here.