Nehru's speech gave me goosebumps: Ted Nash

Grammy award winner Ted Nash talks about his inspirations, his award-winning album and more

swati

Swati Chandra | March 2, 2017 | New Delhi


#on a personal note   #musician   #Ted Nash   #Grammy awards  
Musician Ted Nash
Musician Ted Nash


American jazz musician Ted Nash has won this year’s Grammy for his album Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom for ‘Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album’ and the ‘Best Instrumental Composition’ for the composition Spoken At Midnight inspired by the Tryst with Destiny speech given by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Apart from Nehru, the album features speeches by 20th century leaders like Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Aung San Suu Kyi and John F Kennedy. Based in New York, Ted wishes to visit and perform in India.

 
When did you first come across Nehru’s famous oration and how?
 
I found Nehru’s wonderful oration after an internet search on the important speeches of the 20th century. The speech moved me and gave me goose bumps. 
 
How did the Tryst with Destiny speech inspire you?
 
I am a sucker for freedom. When I see a person or a country getting the freedom they deserve, that they have fought for, it moves me. My parents were civil rights activists and their struggle for human rights has always stayed close to my heart. The intensity of his expression in embracing India’s freedom from nearly 200 years of British rule, feels very powerful.
 
How did you conceive the unique idea of  the Presidential Suite?
 
An earlier work I composed for big band, Portrait in Seven Shades, dealt with paintings by master painters like Picasso and Van Gogh. I have always been inspired by great art, and that concept gave me fuel for creativity. For this more recent project I explored an idea I had been thinking about: to transcribe speeches for their actual pitches, creating the thematic material which I would later set into a context. As I began listening to potential speeches I noticed the ones that I chose were one that dealt with the theme of freedom.
 
Could you tell us, in lay terms, about the sort of musical improvisation you played with while working on Nehru’s and others’ speeches?
 
Improvisation is a vital part of jazz.For me jazz wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t include improvisation. Speaking is also a form of improvisation. When we speak we have an idea and then we choose words and phrases to express that idea. We also improvise our intonation, the ups and downs of the tones, the cadence. Even if a speech is written in advance, as is the case with most political speeches, the speaker is still improvising the phrases, the spaces, the exclamations. There is so much music in the way we talk. In the case of Nehru he spoke in a very narrow space, like a third or fourth. The resulting material I got from his speech was contained to this small interval. Other speakers, like FDR [Franklin D Roosevelt], had phrases that leapt out over huge intervals. Each of these presented challenges in terms of creating a form in which to express these melodies. 
 
How does it feel to win Grammy?
 
I am very happy to be recognised by the Academy and also my peers in the music business. It is an honour. I hope that this recognition will help bring about more opportunities to be creative. 
 
What will be your next project?
 
I have many ideas. I am not sure which will be my next, but I will hopefully get to all of them. So much to do and so little time! 
 
Have you read or followed the speeches of other Indian leaders, say Gandhiji, Indira Gandhi, Vajpayee? 
 
I have read some of Gandhi’s works, and he is certainly one of the most inspiring people of all time. There is still so much for me to explore with regard to India’s rich culture and history and I look forward to that exploration.
 
 
(The interview appears in the March 1-15, 2017 issue of Governance Now)
 

Comments

 

Other News

Mumbai think tank calls for climate action

Raising concerns over rising seawater levels and climate change, Mumbai First, a 25-year-old public-private partnership policy think tank, has written letters to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, minister for environment and climate change, tourism and protocol, Aditya Thackeray and Mumbai munic

Creation of ‘good bank’ as important as ‘bad bank’ for NPA management

After the recent announcement of the government guarantee for Security Receipts (SRs) to be issued by a public sector-owned National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL), there is a surge of interest around this desi version of a super bad bank. The entity will acquire around ₹2 trillion bad debts fr

V shape recovery an exaggeration: Gurcharan Das

The notion of a V-shape economic recovery is an exaggeration, and the informal economy and the poor have been terribly hurt during the Covid-19 period, says Gurcharan Das, author, commentator and public intellectual. “A V-shape recovery is an exaggeration. The informal economy and the

Covid-19 antibodies found in 86.64% Mumbai citizens

As many as 86.64% citizens of the city of Greater Mumbai have antibodies, according to the fifth sero-prevalence survey. Among the people who are fully or partially vaccinated, the antibodies were found in 90.26%, while among the unvaccinated citizens, 79.86% had antibodies. The Municipal C

`Bad Bank`: All you wanted to know about NARCL

The cabinet has cleared the formation of ‘National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited’ (NARCL) which will acquire “stressed assets” of about Rs. 2 Lakh crore in phases within RBI regulations in order to address the problem of humongous amounts of bad loans in public sector banks.

Citizens Charter: How this less-known law empowers us

When consumer rights and RTI activist Mohammad Afzal was shifting to a new residence in a different area, he required changes in various documents. He decided to take the help of the Citizens Charter along with other friends who also required similar work with authorities. The Citizens Chart

Visionary Talk: Gurcharan Das, Author, Commentator & Public Intellectual on key governance issues


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter