Kadal was the toughest album – Keba

When Keba Jeremiah took the guitar for AR Rahman’s Rockstar, he sent the audience into a tizzy. Even today he loves narrating every bit of the experience working on his maiden album with the Mozart of Madras AR Rahman. “It was composer James Vasanthan who spotted me in a church playing the guitar and roped in for his album Subramaniapuram. My association with AR Rahman began with Rockstar and since then I have been part of every album of his. He is an amazing musician and more importantly, a great human being. As a musician, he gives me absolute freedom and hence there is a lot of scope for improvisation. Though every album of his is a challenging one, it was Kadal that was the toughest nut to track,” says Keba.

With his long locks and his obsession for the acoustic guitar, Keba might seem to be a typical rockstar, but he surprises us with his shy demeanour. “It’s just easier to maintain long hair,” quips Keba adding, “I straightened it and have been sporting the look for the last few years now.”

Keba’s tryst with music began at the age of 7 and the guitarist has come a long way with an impressive piece of work to his credit. Though he has worked with some of the top-notch musicians in the industry, including Harris Jayaraj, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Thaman, Anirudh, Preetam, Vishal Shekhar and Santhosh Narayan, he maintains that he is still in the learning phase. “I have a long way to go. I’m doing my best to better myself with every track.”

The guitarist is living out of a suitcase shuttling between one concert and studio to another. “Though it’s tough working on so many albums and I hardly get any sleep, my calendar is pretty sorted. I recently worked on Maryan, Sutta Kadhai, Vanakkam Chennai, Chennai Express, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Raanjhana. My repertoire comprises around 200 tracks.”

As the conversation veers towards independent albums, Keba muses, “Though I am not working on any solo album, I recently wrapped up work on independent albums of Andrea Jeremiah and Malavika Manoj. The indie music scene is picking up but we need more venues to perform. The quality has to be better and there should be more competition among the artists,” says Keba who aspires to turn a composer.

The musician, who is basking in the balmy weather of Coimbatore, winds up saying, “I am quite taken aback by the guitar scene in the city. Though guitar is just taking its baby steps here when compared to cities like Chennai, the musicians are quite advanced and open to various genres of music. The music scene in Coimbatore definitely has a bright future.”

Source: Time of India