Amaranta Entertainment launches Project YUJ
Amaranta Entertainment is proud to welcome Project YUJ as one of our artists being promoted under our banner. Project Yuj was formed in 2014, They’re genre of music falls under Neo-Carnatic Funk .
They are a band of four consisting of:
Prakash Hariharan– Mandolin
Aalaap Raju- Bass
Jeoraj George– Drums
Leon James– Keyboard
Prakash is a classically trained Carnatic south Indian mandolin virtuoso. He is one of the few classical musicians regularly performing and moving the instrument forward. After receiving his initial formative training with U.P Raju, he furthered his studies with vocal and veena master Innisai Maamani Smt. Padma Veeraraghavan, (a disciple of yester-year stalwarts Ariyakudi Sri. Ramanuja Iyengar and Palghat Sri K.V.Narayanaswamy). He began performing classically in 1999, won the National level Music Competition held by All India Radio in 2007 (Carnatic Instrumental category) and became an All India Radio grade artist in the same year. He is also the recipient of the Bharath Kalachar and CCRT Central Government Scholarships. In addition to his original and classical work, Prakash continues to work in the film industry, composing and producing soundtrack works. Visit :www.facebook.com/mandolinprakash for more.
Prakash is joined by bassist and singer Aalaap Raju, who has performed with several prominent artists such as Dr. L. Subramaniam, Dr. T.V. Gopalakrishnan, Frank Dubier and has recorded with noticeable composers including Ilayaraja, Harris Jayaraj, Manisarma, G.V.Prakash, Thaman, and Deepak Dev. As a singer his rendition of “Ennamo Yedho” from the movie KO composed by Harris Jayaraj topped the music charts for several months in 2011 and won him the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer – 2011. To date he has more than 300 concerts to his credit.
Holding down the rhythm is drummer Jeoraj George. After graduating at the top of his class from DRUMTECH in London, George returned to his home of India in 2005 and began conducting critically acclaimed workshops and masterclasses for various cultural festivals, music schools and music companies like IIT Sarang, Musee musical School Of Music, Unwind School of music and Furtados. When not playing with Project YUJ, he is a first-call session musician for various international Grammy-award winning jazz, pop, and rock artists/composers including A.R. Rahman, Amit Heri, George Brooks, Keith Peters. He has also supported classical artists including Sudha Raghunathan, Thiruvaroor Vaidyanathan and others.
Rounding out the group is Leon James, a 20-year old keyboardist, programmer, arranger and composer from Chennai. Although the youngest member of the group, he was awarded the best keyboardist by A.R. Rahman during a popular band hunt show in Chennai and was also awarded the same by Yamaha for the South Indian Asian Beats Contest. He has played for International Music Festivals like Fete De La Musique, Indigo Jazz and Blues Music Fest, Chennai Global Music Festival and also performs at corporate Events and Pro Shows in the Western and Indian Film Music Circuit. Although the sole instrumentalist in the group accompanying the harmonic role, he, like his band mates struggles to define the sound of the music. There’s a real array of influences, from jazz-rock guys like Chick Corea, John Mclaughlin, Victor Wooten and Vinnie Colaiuta, to Indian classical and other world music styles, said James.I guess you could call it Neo-Carnatic Funk.
We’re really excited about the potential behind the music of Project YUJ said Aalaap Raju after the initial sessions. We’ve really defined our voice and are beginning to pick momentum and intensity, compositionally and improvisationally. I think audiences will be sharing in this enthusiasm. Indeed when musical life starts at this level, great promise lies ahead.
This is the clarion call of Project YUJ, India’s newest genre-defying fusion ensemble. Yuj, a Sanskrit word that means to join or to concentrate, is indicative of the group’s manifesto to bring out and fuse its multitude of influences into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The group members diverse musical backgrounds and formidable chops allow for flights of improvisational freedom and virtuosity while still maintaining accessibility and musicality.
At present, there are not many groups in India, and South India specifically, that are really trying to improvise and authentically fuse all of these disparate styles while staying true to the vital aspects of each, said Prakash Hariharan, the group’s electric mandolin player. We want to honor the musicality of these styles and at the same time look beyond the confines of a genre to create something new, original and accessible. This isn’t something that music fans in India have as much of locally, and we are thrilled to move forward and start offering it.