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Young on the console

Just 22, dentist Ricky Kej has no teething problems in making soul-stirring lounge music

Out to make a mark

HE BREEZED in with the wind and the rain, all arms and legs, looking like an endearing cross between a schoolboy and a salesman. It's probably the tie that did it. Presenting... Ricky Kej, all of 22 years.

A dentist by qualification and a musician by choice, Ricky lives and breathes music. And the culmination of everything he dreamed of since he first touched a musical instrument is out in the form of a lounge album, Communicative Art.

Musical inclination

Where did this fourth generation doctor get his passion for music? "I really don't know," laughs his mother, Pammi. Though she suspects the artistic genes were inherited from his illustrious grandfather Janaki Das, actor, Olympic cyclist, and freedom fighter. He had prophesied that his grandson would make his mark on the world. Neither did anyone take him seriously nor did they foresee that it would happen at such a young age. Not when the ten-year-old Ricky evaded his guitar lessons like the plague. Not even when the young lad began toying with an old keyboard.

Notes and tunes

Ricky dances to a different tune. He experimented with glasses of water to produce his own jal tarang and also replicated exact tabla beats on western drums for "Vishwa", "not to create a genre, but a song".

It is, as vocalist Sabitha Johnas says: "Music so young and so fresh!" These were the qualities that had international recording label Free Spirit Records knocking on Ricky's door.

Communicative Art has shlokas, bhajans, and Sufi spirituals woven with lyrics that are as richly textured as they are varied.

Thankfully, none of the tracks are as obscure as the opening one. They are rather classical, embellished with alternative music. Listen to it again and it insidiously seeps into your pores, echoing the mood of the hour. Ricky's lexicon begins and ends with the word `question'. He questions everything, particularly tradition, for he believes that it is "retarding the true progress of the human race". Yet, he vows he is not a radical.

Passion for music

He does not deal with just music, but with emotions and moods. He explains as the notes of "Indian Spirit" spill around: "I have used a pure Telugu classical song as a lyrical element where you feel for the song and the way it is sung."

"Synergism" with its haunting vocal modulation by Sabitha Jhonas, has simply structured rhythm. "Sansar" is another number that tugs at the heartstrings, while "Distance 2" is definitely going to energise Lounge Bars across the city.

Natraj, vocalist from the Hindi rock band Vinapra, describes working with Ricky as "amazing, because of his phenomenal technical knowledge, talent, and maturity".

This was what probably saw Ricky funding his passion for music by composing jingles. He has to his credit over 300 ad campaigns for radio, television, and corporate houses. Titan, Toyota, Royal Challenge, and Kwality are but a few of the names.

Recording studio

Success enabled him to build his own state of the art recording studio. Ricky has also produced and composed an Indi-pop album Sansaar for artiste Navin. A video Jaanam from the same album produced by Ricky is currently on air. In addition, he has remixed six tracks for an album called Bollywood Masala and composed the background score for a telefilm. Yet, this young musician humbly says: "I am but a speck in the universe". Well, definitely not for long.


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