“Spread Music, spread love and peace” says Neil Bharadwaj, a vocalist and a music enthusiast. He believes that music has all the power to heal people. Jim Ankan Deka too shares his intense love of music with Neil. After a span of about ten years these musician friends, hailing from Guwahati, have come together to render good music to the music lovers.
Neil’s musical journey began from the tender age of eight. He received the best singer award in school in the year 1996. Later, he bagged the best singer award twice in Arya Vidyapeeth College during his graduation. His professional singing career started in the year 1999, as he began to perform in cultural shows. Many renowned artists from Assam such as Kalpana Patowary, Mousumi Saharia, Subhasana Dutta and Trishna Devi had been his co-singers. Then he moved to Mumbai and Delhi, worked in corporate for ten years. But the love he has for Assam and its unique cultural heritage, specifically music, made him homebound, leaving his lucrative job in Google. His urge to do something worthwhile in the field of music has brought him back to his own land.
Jim shares his childhood experience when he developed interest in music. “It was during my childhood that I was exposed to Vaishnavite culture in my family, and became familiar with ‘Borgeet’. Initially, I received training in Borgeet and Khol. I began playing guitar from the age of four’. Since the age of eighteen Jim started composing and arranging music for various albums, documentaries, TV series etc and in the year 2000 his first music album ‘Prahar: Tumi Kuwa Kothabur” was released. Prahar, the first Assamese soft band, with the other members Neil, Nayan and Bitupan Phukan, played with Kalpana Patowary. Moving to Bangalore in the year 2006, he founded a band called “Eastern Fare”, which was the first acoustic band in the town, or perhaps in India. He has introduced “Chai tunes”, which is a fuse of Rock and Goalporiya music. The extremely talented Jim has created many award-winning compositions such as “Awaaz – speak up against sexual violence” and “Eastwards”.
Both Jim and Neil are basically academic musicians, and they have come up with their academies. Neil, after returning to Guwahati in 2015, thought of setting up a music academy with his celebrity artist friend Chinmoyee Bhuyan Bordoloi. So, now they have a joint venture known as “Coverage Academy of Art and Culture”. Neil is also planning to employ music as a therapy for healing the ones who are suffering from any kind of pain and trauma. On the other hand, Jim has opened branches of “Eastern Fare Music Foundation” in Guwahati (Assam) and in Umroi and Umiam (Meghalaya), the main branch being in Bangalore. “Eastern Fare Music Foundation” is affiliated to Trinity School of Music, London.
However, Neil and Jim now aspire to make use of music as a medium to create happiness for themselves as well as for the people who love music. “We do not intend to go to the mainstream commercialised music. Our vision is to offer good music to the people, and so we are very stringent about what we play”, says Neil. They together did some shows and are holding jamming sessions with their co- artists Gaurav and Prabal Pratim. They are sometimes accompanied by their friend and renowned musician Kirti Prabar Das from Assam, based in Mumbai. Hence, they look forward for some good response from the music lovers in their effort to deliver good music as they believe that “Music is praying to God, the source of happiness, and is beyond borders and barriers”.