Rajan Batra: We let the collaborator shine

In an inspiring blend of modern dynamics and age-old musical traditions, indie band The Yellow Diary has unveiled a touching endeavor that bridges genres and generations. The band, known for its distinctive soundscapes, has embarked on a collaborative journey with renowned folk musician Sucharita Gupta, documented in a seven-part web series aptly titled “Equals.”

“Equals,” the series, delves into the heart of collaboration—revealing the process of artists from seemingly disparate musical domains creating in unison. The title serves as a testament to the central theme where each contributor stands on equal footing, bringing unique musical languages to the table in the quest to compose a harmonious meld.

Frontman Rajan Batra of The Yellow Diary described the process as an immersive adventure. “We usually have our modern, new-age sound, and struggling to bridge that with the heritage-rich musical integrity our collaborators brought was a fascinating challenge,” Batra notes. The band, renowned for its introspective and emotionally charged music, found in Sucharita ji not just a collaborator but a wellspring of knowledge. It was common for the band members to find themselves lost in the depth of her intrinsic musical sensibility, even during the simplest hum.

Collaboration, in music, is often about letting go and allowing the process to unveil the creative expressions of each artist. “To allow the collaborator to shine,” Batra says, “is to embrace the unique qualities every individual brings to the composition.” In their musical conversations, a mutual understanding was nurtured. They would present a melody, crafted within their contemporary framework, which Sucharita ji would then infuse with her traditional essence. The composition came to life as they aligned with her singing style, culminating in a blend that is both fresh and resonant with historic undertones.

Throughout the series, viewers are privy to the quiddities of combining technicality with passion. The Yellow Diary reveals a side seldom seen—a band weaving meticulously through the fabric of their and others’ musical beginnings. This documentary peels back layers of the artistic process, exposing the raw, vibrant core of collaborative music creation. The band, with its willingness to listen and adapt, exemplifies what it means to transcend one’s boundaries, reshaping their musical approach to complement those of the folk tradition.

Recounting the experience, Batra speaks of cultural exchange and mutual respect that powered their creative session. There’s an evident acknowledgement that while they may typically chart their melodies on modern instruments, the heart of the music—a narrative of human emotion—remains the same regardless of its origin or era.

Such intercultural dialogues through the arts are proving increasingly valuable, establishing connections that not only entertain but educate and elevate. By bringing together the wisdom of folk traditions and the experimental spirit of contemporary music, “Equals” stands as a beacon of unity in an industry often characterized by competition and disparity.

In each of the seven episodes, the viewers see not only the evolution of a single track but also that of the artists involved. The documentary chronicles the challenges faced, the joys discovered, and the mutual growth experienced by each musician. By the series’ conclusion, it’s clear that the name “Equals” has been fully realized in the creative process documented within—musicians, regardless of background, standing side by side in pursuit of a shared auditory vision.

In an era where the digital world can create distances as swiftly as it can bridge them, this series is a reminder of the power of music to connect souls. With every chord struck and every note sung, The Yellow Diary and Sucharita Gupta remind us that art transcends language, culture, and time, resonating with the universal human spirit and creating an eternal symphony of collaboration.

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