Music group Berklee Indian Ensemble to release new album

Collage of the Berklee Indian Ensemble. Photo: courtesy Berklee Indian Ensemble

The Berklee Indian Ensemble, a well-known collective known for its “global Indian sound” is releasing a debut album, Shuruaat (Hindi for ‘beginning’) June 24, 2022. The group originated at the renowned Berklee College of Music based in Boston, Massachusetts.

A press release from the group says this is its first collection of “transnational, genre-bending” music that honors traditions while boldly experimenting with a cross pollination of genres, cultures, and multidisciplinary art forms.

The Berklee Indian Ensemble began in 2011, founded by Annette Philipthe first Indian-origin musician appointed as a faculty member at Berklee College of Music.

BIE became globally know with more than 255 million views of their videos, the press release said.

Annette Philip. Photo: Ryan Nava courtesy BIE

“The questions, ‘what if’, and ‘why not’ have been at the core of every chapter,” Philip is quoted saying in the press release. She sees the band’s function as one of bridge-building; a free-wheeling approach to musical cultures that prioritizes the people who make them, rather than the restrictions of genre or form. “There is a unique power when musicians from different cultural and musical backgrounds make art together with vulnerability and openness in a space that celebrates their similarities and differences,” Philip says. “The music that gets created in this space comes across viscerally and allows a song in a foreign language to feel completely relatable because of the human connection, making you want to be part of it.”

The group first became a viral phenomenon with their groundbreaking 2014 homage to Grammy and Oscar winning composer A.R. Rahman’s Jiya Jale from the 1998 film Dil Se. That video has over 50 million views to date and led to the Ensemble’s sold-out shows in the US, Canada and India.

High global demand allowed BIE to transition into a professional band in 2021, and the current lineup is led by members representing India, Jordan, Israel, Nigeria, Indonesia, Norway, the US, and other regions across the globe.



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