Violin Chandru’s Widescreen Album


String arrangements by Violin Chandru

This is one of Chandru’s early string arrangement projects, and definitely the first for a rock album. The experience was altogether marvelous, especially since Sean Dickson of the High Fidelity visited Bangalore during the recording of the string arrangements.

At that time, our very own “Sa Recording Studio” was not built yet, and so we recorded at Ganalahari Studios Bangalore.

Chandru also gigged with Sean and his team to promote the “Demonstration” album, including at the “T in the Park” festival in Scotland.

For more information about Bollywood Strings or our string arrangements, click here or email info@bollywoodstrings.com

Sean Dickson and the High Fidelity


String arrangements by Violin Chandru

This is one of Chandru’s early string arrangement projects, and definitely the first for a rock album. The experience was altogether marvelous, especially since Sean Dickson of the High Fidelity visited Bangalore during the recording of the string arrangements.

At that time, our very own “Sa Recording Studio” was not built yet, and so we recorded at Ganalahari Studios Bangalore.

Chandru also gigged with Sean and his team to promote the “Demonstration” album, including at the “T in the Park” festival in Scotland.

For more information about Bollywood Strings or our string arrangements, click here or email info@bollywoodstrings.com

Pepe Habichuela and the Bollywood Strings

The Gypsy flamenco – Indian roots connection

One of our precious relationships is between Violin Chandru, the Bollywood Strings and the famous Flamenco guitarist, Pepe Habichuela and his team. Chandru first met Pepe during a Nitin Sawhney concert in which both Pepe and Chandru performed. A year later, Pepe worked with us during our Barbican concert in 2000 and subsequently commissioned two strings arrangements which was released in the album “Yerbaguena” in the summer of 2002.

This collaboration has had many successful shows all over Europe. Our regular features in a concert were the sitar, tabla (North Indian percussion), mridangam (South Indian percussion) and of course, the violin. On the flamenco end, we had Pepe and his second guitarist, 2 singer come clappers and 1 kahoun player. Depending on the scale of the programme, we added musicians. Flamenco music and Indian music share common roots and this can be seen in the vibrating sounds these musicians produce and the atmosphere it creates.

Especially beautiful to watch is the relationship between Chandru and Pepe, fierce yet humble musical exchanges leave the audience mesmerised. Both musicians have nothing but praise for each other.

~ Flamencoworld.com wrote:
“Chandru, smiling, plays as if he were talking straight to Pepe. His music is fluid and precise.”

The magic between Pepe Habichuela and Violin Chandru is beautifully captured in the 2005 musical documentary “The Flamenco Clan – Herencia Flamenca” directed by Michael Meert, a German.

In the documentary, Pepe Habichuela’s son, Josemi, expresses, “When we worked with Chandru, there was a very special contact. We can see in their faces…they’re gypsies or we’re Indians”.

Feature article in Flamencoworld.com about the collaboration between Pepe Habichuela and Violin Chandru:

Pepe Habichuela (b. Granada, 1944) has returned to the recording market with a record in which East Indian music and flamenco mix with a simplicity of understanding that can only be achieved by veteran masters of each respective tradition. The guitarist who carried out this project is one of today’s most respected veterans of flamenco guitar, but in addition to his experience, he brings to this project an open philosophy regarding musical adventures in which there is no place for affectation or academicism. Enrique Morente’s right-hand-man on the record “Despegando”, as well as in innumerable concerts, he hasn’t devoted much time to solo work, in keeping with a way of being that is parallel to a musical style in which professional advancement and ostentation do not exist.

Pepe Habichuela’s collaboration with Indian music has been seen and heard on many stages throughout the world in various formats. In 2000 Pepe accepted the invitation of the British-Indian musician Nithin Shawney to play in several concerts in Europe in a small tour which hit some World Music festivals that already included the violinist Chandru, and the critics were surprised by the easy rapport and the capacity for assimilation between both types of music.

Flamenco looks back and around itself. The Hindu musicians adapt easily to the compas of flamenco: their rhythmic language is far more complex than that of flamenco, so that seguiriyas sounds with impossible percussive phrasing and melodies that criss-cross in harmonies that make them seem familiar. Chandru, smiling, plays as if he were speaking straight to Pepe. Another new world has opened up for a musician who can be heard on the records of Talvin Singh, Bjork, and Ravi Shankar. His language is fluid and precise. Pepe coordinates the musicians via his versatile and knowledgeable guitar.Chandru is one of the most sought-after musicians India’s movie industry, the market known as “Bollywood”, which surpasses America’s Hollywood in sheer number of productions. “The Bollywood strings” led by the violinist, dialogue and interchange ideas in the studio and on stage. London, Bangalore, Barcelona… In rehearsals Pepe surprises everyone with his English which is as eloquent and straightforward as his guitar playing and, without a doubt, the sound of his chords is the first flamenco sound which has reached the ears of many audience members at ethnic music festivals.

Daniel Muñoz
Translation: Estela Zatania

Watch Pepe Habichuela and the Bollywood Strings on YouTube

Pepe Habichuela and the Bollywood Strings

Buy Yerbaguena on Amazon Mp3

Buy The Flamenco Clan on Amazon

The Flamenco Clan - Herencia Flamenca

 Images from a rehearsal in Madrid, May 8th, 2001



Life isn’t all Ha Ha Hee Hee – Tristin Norwell, Nick Green & Violin Chandru


String arrangements by Violin Chandru

The strings on the sound track of this film are arranged and recorded by our composer, violinist and string arranger, Violin Chandru. The music is composed by Tristin Norwell and Nick Green.

Chandru first met Tristin when recording on Talvin Singh’s ‘OK’ album, which Tristin engineered. Since then they have worked together really well on several occasions. Their latest collaboration is of course the music for this film which features quite prominently the arrangements by Chandru. The strings were recorded at our very own studio in Bangalore, Sa Recording Studio, in December 2004 and involved over 60 string players and solo instrumentalists like sitar and flute. For more information about Bollywood Strings or our string arrangements, click here or email info@bollywoodstrings.com

More about Life isn’t all Ha Ha Hee Hee

CREDITS :
Starring : Laila Rouass, Meera Syal, Ayesha Dharker, Ace Bhatti, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Matt Day.
Story : Meera Syal
Script : Abi Morgan
Direction : Andy de Emmony
Producer : Jo Willett
Executive Producer : Mark Redhead
Music : Norwell & Green with Strings by Chandru of Bollywood Strings

The TV adaptation of Meera Syal’s book Life Isn’t All Ha Ha, Hee Hee was first aired  on BBC1 on 10 May 2005 at 9pm.

A tale of friendship, and cross-cultural conflicts, the story exposes the ties that bind the three women to their roots and a generation of men lost in the wake of feminism.

Producer Jo Willett summed up: “Life is about female friendships and how they can endure longer than husbands and lovers, but also about how much truth real friendship can stand.

Meera admits: “It disturbed me profoundly to see evidence of how much we can achieve, laced with our ability to destroy ourselves. It made me want to look at my life and the lives of my friends, all of whom were going through seismic changes in our belief systems and relationships. “We had to face up to the fact that we weren’t our mothers, no matter how much we loved them, and what would we hand onto our daughters?”

“I also wanted to celebrate the richness of this journey we were all taking with immense humour and strength while sometimes making the biggest dramatic mistakes and discoveries along the way.”

‍The serial stars Laila Rouass (Footballer’s Wives, Hollyoaks), Meera Syal (The Kumars At No 42, Goodness Gracious Me), Ayesha Dharker (Star Wars II, Cutting It), Ace Bhatti (The Deputy, Bend It Like Beckham), Sanjeev Bhaskar (The Kumars At No 42, Anita And Me) and Matt Day (The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Shackleton).

It is brought to the small screen by Hat Trick Productions whose recent successes include The Kumars At No 42 and Jed Mercurio’s Bodies.

The executive producer for Hat Trick, Mark Redhead, said: “Meera has given us a rich portrait of modern Britain, which deals with friendship, love and betrayal.

Gareth Neame, Head of BBC Drama Independent Commissioning, added: “Meera’s vibrant and exuberant tale is the latest contemporary adaptation alongside Jonathan Coe’s The Rotters Club, Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith and Robert Harris’ Archangel.

“It represents part of our on going commitment to bring the best original adaptations of modern fiction to the BBC.”

Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee is adapted by Meera Syal (Anita And Me) with Abi Morgan (Sex Traffic), directed by Andy de Emmony (Canterbury Tales) and produced by Jo Willett (Dirty Tricks, A Rather English Marriage).

The executive producer is Mark Redhead of Hat Trick Productions.

Music is by Norwell & Green with strings by Chandru of Bollywood Strings.

* Includes extracts from BBC website

Nitin Sawhney and Violin Chandru


About Violin Chandru and Nitin Sawhney’s collaboration

Violin Chandru’s and Nitin Sawhney’s collaborations started in mid 90’s with Chandru’s lovely violin renditions in Nitin’s “Displacing the Priest” album. Chandru is featured on the title track “Displacing the Priest” and on “Pieces of 10 – Chandru mix, which Chandru later went on to play at many of Nitin’s concerts.

Later in 1999, Chandru played the violin for Nitin’s Mercury nominated “Beyond Skin” album.

Their next big collaboration came in 2001 for the album “Prophesy” where Chandru arranged and recorded the Bollywood String arrangement for Nitin’s Acquired Dreams which featured the beautiful voice of Natacha Atlas. The track was so popular, it was licensed many times over across the world.

In Nitin’s 2003 “Human”, Chandru once again played the violin on several tracks.

As if in sequence, their next major collaboration was on Philtre (2005), Nitin’s seventh studio album in eleven years, which was inspired by elements of all his recent projects, in particular his return to DJ’ing. He had collated ideas for the album over several months the previous year.

The result was an astonishing collection of songs that would take the listener on a journey through global club culture, Indian classical music, Bengali folk, traditional flamenco, blues, old soul and R&B. On Philtre, drum’n’bass beats rub shoulders with sitars and flutes float over classical piano. Hip-hop, scratching, trip-hop, castanets and flamenco guitars sit alongside hypnotic strings and funky basslines.

The strings on Deadman Walking, Mausam & The Search were arranged and recorded by Chandru with the Bollywood Strings Orchestra in our very own studio in sunny Bangalore in December 2004. The Bollywood Strings orchestra features around 65 players from Bangalore, Chennai & Kerala. In addition, Chandru recorded some beautiful flute, swara mandal (Indian harp) and sitar solos for this album.