The Kansaras Interview - The First Pop Group in History...
Added: (Sun Jan 18 2004)
Pressbox (Press Release) -
The Kansaras are The First Pop Group in History to be made up of the parents and their young children. Their blend of music is unique. Their highly polished productions are a classy fusion of Indian classical music with Sitar, Western classical and pop.
Divya Kansara is a classicaly trained Sitar player, Nicole Kansara is a trained mezzo soparano and The Kansara Kids have received training in both traditions.
Please check out www.kansaras.com for music samples etc.
1) How did the concept of starting a band around a family arise?
Originally the project was just for Nicole & Divyas as a duo. One day Divyana, who was just 5 years old, pushed her way into the studio when Nicole was just getting ready to record and refused to leave when asked politely. A slightly more aggressive request to "go and play with your brother" was met with an equally stubborn refusal. Finally Divyana agreed to go and play if she could record "like mummy". A deal was struck that resulted in amazing vocals, improvised on the spot, of Divyana which brought tears to the eyes of both parents. These were recorded in 1 take and are the ones that are used in the song "Soul Strom". A snippet of this song and a Hollywood blockbuster type video of "Soul Strom" can be previewed at www.kansaras.com.
2) How long after your children joined band, did it take for you to put the
Kansara sound together?
It has taken over 2 years of non stop work, mostly 7 days a week, often 14 hours a day to develop the very high quality unique sound that is the trademark of The Kansaras music. Right from the beginning we wanted to give the public something really original and very different, with top class production values, yet something that they could relate to and enjoy. It was a huge, ambitious project, like making a major movie. Fortunately we love what we are doing, so we carried on and on and on… until recently when we felt that we had achieved some of what we wanted in The Kansara sound.
3) Describe the vibe of the songs to anyone that hasn’t heard it before?
When The Kansara Kids, Divyana and Arjun (5 and 4 years old when the group was formed), pushed their way in, we had to rethink our whole musical strategy? We had nothing to relate to, what we were doing was something that's never been done before in History. So we were in a situation, where we had no previous references to study that could give us some guiding light. Also, our family is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures, since Nicole is a classically trained Mezzo Soprano and I am a classically trained Sitar player. With the addition of the demanding Kansara Kids, we had to think up a sound that was the best possible fusion of all these unique factors. Therefore whilst we have very deep, serious songs combining the Eastern and Western classical traditions, we also had to take into account The Kansara Kids childlike voices. This has led to a totally new kind of sound that has fortunately worked very well. Simply put it's a fusion of classical East and West within a very "pop" oriented commercial framework. The really special thing being The Kansara Kids vocals, which are highly sophisticated and yet unexpectedly powerful for kids of their ages.
4) Your background in classical, yet the songs have a commercial vibe. Was
that a conscious decision?
Yes, absolutely. We wanted to make music for everybody. We wanted to please the Eastern audience as well as the Western one. That’s a very tall order since the cultural backgrounds are so different, but that has been our main aim. Music is the closest there is to a universal language. We wanted to make music that would help people see their common qualities and help "peoples" and cultures get closer together. The best way to do this in our opinion is by making "classy" music that everybody could relate to.
5) What is the biggest challenge of working as a family?
Too many "Chiefs" and no Indians. In other words the real bosses are The Kansara Kids. We are overcoming this big problem by a democratic solution in which we all try to agree for a decision to be formed. Not easy when you have kids who come up with arguments that you never thought of. Sometimes, I must admit, if I can get away with it, the solution is "You do as I say…cause I am bigger then you."
6) What are the main musical influences you draw from?
Nicole and myself (Divyas) from our classical heritages and pop music. The Kansara Kids have received classical training from both cultures. With reference to commercial music, we all love most chart material of many different styles.
7) Your are very prolific in the number of songs you have composed, why is that?
How many songs have you composed?
Can't help it. We all love composing and are coming up with new tunes and words on a daily basis. We have mastered approx. 150 stereo tracks, but have much more songs, which we haven't recorded in the studio.
8) How important is performing live to you?
We all really enjoy live shows, especially Divyana and Arjun. It is probably the most important aspect of our careers at the moment. The Kansara Kids are constantly asking when we are going to perform in front of thousands. We are really looking to take this to the next level and are working on organising a Kansaras "World Peace" tour of the UK and USA, with other groups representing many different cultures and styles of Music.
9) Is it true that your children compose some of the songs themselves?
Absolutely. Arjun and Divyana have been making their own melodies and songs since the age of 3. They can improvise melodies and words on the spot. On the 26th of November we had a show where this was demonstrated in front of a live audience. Members of the audience were asked to give any key word, from this word Divyana made up a song, words and melody on the spot. In the next show it will be Arjun's turn.
10) What is the plan for the band?
The plan is to reach out to the world, and share our music in ways, which help to bring us all, different people from different parts of the world, together. We will do this by live shows, music videos and of course releasing The Kansara Album through traditional channels. Most importantly our music will soon be available worldwide through legal digital downloads through The Kansara's website www.kansaras.com.
11) What kind of audiences do you want to reach?
We want to reach the kind of audiences that were attracted to Abba, Boney-M, Spice girls etc. Whole families can find entertainment from our shows. Also our music has been very carefully designed to give the best to anybody who seeks it. Our songs contains very powerful messages, which when listened to over and over, can help people achieve their dreams and focus on the positive. For example Divyana's song called "We can do it!" is about believing in yourself, and has extremely powerful words which can help positively anybody who listens to this song. Similarly Arjun's song called " Parts of Happiness." is an incredibly beautiful, deep song that personally touches me to the depths of my soul. It's a song that teaches you to make your own "Parts of Happiness." He made this song up spontaneously at the age of 5 whilst on Holiday in Portugal.
12) Can you ask the children what it is like working with their parents?
The following answers are quoted "word to word" as the children spontaneously gave them. These answers were recorded on video and then Tran scripted.
Arjun:" Well… I like working with my parents cause it's fun for me and that's what I love to do…cause it's my favourite thing to do and I like to make music…that's what I like to do… I love to be a pop star and that's why I like to work on music…cause music is my play."
Divyana:" It's fun to work with my parents cause I love doing music and cause I love working with my parents."
Tell me a short summary of what each person in the band does?
Arjun: Writes songs, sings, dances. Does some dance choreography and has done some computer graphics used in the music video of the song The Kansaras "Y"? Also makes his own drum loops on the computer, which will be used in future productions. Arjun is "The Golden Heart" of the family. Tries to please everybody and does it incredibly successfully.
Divyana: Writes songs, sings, dances. Does her own dance choreography for her solo pieces. Also makes her own drum loops on the computer, which will be used in future productions. Divyana the lovable, is Totally talented with a "Star" like temper and needs to be first. She believes in herself and believes everybody should believe in her and themselves. Bosses everybody around.
N.B. Some of the answer to Divyana's section has been censored at her command.
Nicole: Writes songs, sings, dances. Does most of the dance choreography for live performances and has done some computer graphics used in several of The Kansara's music videos. Sound engineers the recordings, does video editing and some musical arrangements of the songs. Co- producer of all 150 mastered stereo tracks. Co-director of "Soul Storm" video. The best ideas in this video were Nicole's.
Divyas: Writes songs, sings, plays Sitar. Tries not to dance. Only does this with the Hat covering his face. Tries to manage/direct the group. Does very little of the dance choreography for obvious reasons. Did direct/produce all The Kansara's music videos. Does some sound engineering of the recordings and some musical arrangements of the songs. Co- producer of all 150 mastered stereo tracks. Tries to boss everybody…usually gets bossed instead.
Tell me seven facts about the band?
1. The Kansara's are The First Pop Group in History to be made up of Parents and their very young children who were only 4 & 5 years of age when the group started.
2. The Kansara's compose/write/produce all their own original songs.
3. The Kansara Kids: Divyana & Arjun are the first children of the ages of 5 & 6 who have completely written their own songs and which have been scheduled for commercial release.
4. The Kansara Kids: Divyana & Arjun are the Driving forces of the The Kansara's pop group. The Kansara's group has survived because of their determination and their love of music/dance and of their family group.
5. We all have two legs and two arms and have done great things, which anybody, with our interests could do.
6. The Kansara Kids really love singing/dancing/performing and are tireless. The Kansara parents would like more time to relax.
7. We all make music first, to please the audience. We are the happiest when people love what we produce for them.