Ram Sampath enthralled the audience with his unique music compositions synchronized to a live dance troupe in San Jose, an event hosted by the Mona Khan Company, on March 10 and 11, 2018. Held in the intimate Mexican Heritage Theater, the concert was accompanied by Mona Khan’s own dance troupe.
The multi-talented Sampath – musician, producer, vocalist, composes for Bollywood movies, MTV India, Coke Studio musical series, and popular TV shows such as “Satyamev Jayate” in India. His background in Carnatic music infuses his compositions with a meld of Indian classical music, jazz, western and pop.
After having started his career composing jingles for advertisements, Sampath moved into the realm of pop music and later started composing for Bollywood films. Sampath’s musical score for the movie “Delhi Belly”, which was acclaimed by music critics, earned him a Filmfare Award.
He now has his own music production house “OmGrown Music”, in collaboration with his wife, Sona Mohapatra, who is a singer in her own right.
The concert in San Jose was a rich experience for the audience, featuring a medley of hit songs by Ram Sampath, who was accompanied by vocalists, Pawni Pandey and Siddhanth Bhosle, as well as a live band. The dance choreography synchronized perfectly with the music, and the dancers in vibrant Bollywood outfits were eye candy. The tight synchronization between the music and dance was the obvious result of an incredible effort and practice by the team.
Sampath exhibited the range of his musical and vocal prowess, in the short span of the two-hour concert, with compositions that were mostly his own.
He also introduced new singers Rithisha Padmanabh and Nishant Bordia, winners of a singing contest that he had hosted in the Bay Area along with Radio Bollywood 92.3 FM
I had a glimpse of the man behind the musical mask in a post-event interview:
I.C.: Who is your muse or your inspiration for your music?
Sampath: Life is my inspiration and the experiences that have shaped my life. Even when I started out as a young lad, I had privy to life experience content to express in my musical composition. I have had an eventful life, right from my childhood (smile).
I.C.: You were trained for 8 years in South Indian Carnatic music. Does that training permeate your music style?
Sampath: Yes, of course. I still love Carnatic music and often use it in my compositions. There are many modern day Carnatic music composers who I consider giants in the industry that I listen to regularly.
I was exposed to many genres of music growing up. Learning music at a young age is a blessing as it becomes a part of who you are – your roots, so to speak.
My dad loves Western music – the Beatles, for example. My mom is a fan of Bollywood music. I also have a rock and jazz component in my music. When I compose, I am influenced by all the above and more. The move into Bollywood was organic, the result of my eclectic music background.
I.C.: What is your favorite musical composition or song?
Sampath: That’s easy. Definitely “Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar” composed by Jaidev from the movie “Hum Dono” and sung by Asha Bhosle and Mohammad Rafi. It is a masterpiece in musical composition. It has so many elements that are perfect in the song – emotions (longing), lyrics, melody, and overall composition. It’s timeless.
I.C.: What is your biggest challenge?
Sampath: My taste in music needs to be agreeable to Bollywood. There is a lot of junk music out there that is being consumed. My desire is to create amazing, high-quality music for the audience. Consistently.
I.C.: What is the future of your musical journey?
Sampath: I am getting more collaborative in nature. For example, this live show with Mona Khan Company is a new beginning for me. I want to do more live stage shows and collaborate with other artists in the years ahead of me.
Thanks for the show Ram Sampath and the heart-to-heart interview. It was good to get a feel of the man behind the excellent music.