Ricky Kej is a Grammy Award winning artist who has also topped the US Billboard charts. The world renowned Indian Music composer is also famous for his environmental activism. Ricky Kej has showcased his incredible musical talents across some of the most popular and prestigious venues in the world, including the United Nations Headquarters in New York and Geneva. The highly acclaimed artist has won over 100 music awards in 20 countries. The prolific music composer is also the UNESCO MGIEP “Global Ambassador for Kindness”, UNCCD “Land Ambassador”, UNICEF “Celebrity Supporter” & Ambassador for “Earth Day Network”.
After releasing a staggering 15 albums in 15 years, Ricky Kej is back with his 16th album in 16 years. More often than not, you can’t separate art from the artist and as a result of that, Ricky Kej’s latest release “Ek” is thematically linked to his environmentally conscious ethos. The COVID 19 pandemic has brought the world to a grinding halt and life as we know it, will never be the same.
During this unprecedented crisis, it is important for us to realise the significance of our environment and the natural world, and work together to build a “New Tomorrow”, a better future for all life. Climate Change is the biggest existential crisis our species has ever faced, and the only way for us to mitigate its effects is if we change our own behaviour, and be the change we want to see.
Ricky Kej’s album “Ek” is an attempt to musically redefine the relationship between us and our natural world. The album’s tracks aim to remind us that we are not the only species on this planet. This album is a collection of songs handpicked from the repertoire of Ricky Kej’s multi-award-winning songs about the environment.
It brings together the best artists from India and around the world to create awareness, inspire and celebrate our natural world through the universal language of music. Some of the prominent singers featured on this album are Shankar Mahadevan, Kailash Kher, Udit Narayan, Salim Merchant, Benny Dayal, Neeti Mohan, Anushka Manchanda, Andrea Jeremiah, Aditya Narayan, Jonita Gandhi and Khatija Rahman.
The album’s name “Ek” resonates throughout its run time. Many of my songs have “One” in their title. Like “One With Earth Song”- a song dedicated to farmers, “One Song” – an anthem for a better tomorrow, “One Family” – a song about co-existence. “One” could mean the first in a series, which implies competition and maybe vanity, but the meaning that I try to capture is Harmony, Similarity, Co-existence and equality. The album features a total of 12 tracks (all of which will be released in the coming few weeks). As of now, five tracks from the album have been released and those are the ones we will be reviewing here.
Jaago – https://youtu.be/i0hLz2-mlCk
Artists: Ricky Kej, Lonnie Park, Wouter Kellerman, Benny Dayal, Andrea Jeremiah, IP Singh, Manoj George, Arun Kumar
This is a tasty and delightful fusion number that features some incredible singing by prominent singers like Andrea Jeremiah and Benny Dayal with some clever instrumentation. The catchy and groovy beat drives the track as the pretty musical flourishes embellish it very well.
Jai Kisaan – https://youtu.be/g7qNR3uZ6fo
Artists: Ricky Kej, Anushka Manchanda, Varijashree Venugopal, Arun Kumar
Driven by an infectiously groovy tribal beat, “Jai Kisaan” is inspired by the “Zero Budget Natural Farming” movement (ZBNF). On this track, Ricky Kej has collaborated with the amazing tribal farmers and created this song which celebrates life and everything natural. Arun Kumar’s work on the mic steals the show here. It’s just incredibly fun to listen to and you can’t help but try to imitate it (and fail eventually).
Gaja – https://youtu.be/zzuo4ogHI74
Artists: Ricky Kej, Wouter Kellerman, Neeti Mohan, Manoj George
Manoj George leads this song with a gorgeous but haunting violin melody as Neeti Mohan’s beautiful voice kicks in and tells the story of the ongoing Human-elephant conflict. Neeti Mohan’s voice does a great job of manifesting itself as an elephant’s cry for help and the musical accompaniment builds a haunting atmosphere around it.
As a result of the rising human population, the Asian Elephant is fighting for survival. As we move deeper and deeper into elephant habitats, more elephants are losing their lives because of human-elephant conflicts instead of poaching. If we want to save these glorious creatures, we need to learn to co-exist. The video of the song has some haunting imagery of elephants being hunted and brutally captured. Viewer discretion is advised.
Shine Your Light – https://youtu.be/1QaKbSozCbg
Artists: Ricky Kej, Wouter Kellerman, Udit Narayan, Aditya Narayan, Lonnie Park, Mzansi Youth Choir, IP Singh
This is an upbeat song that also serves as the official anthem of UNESCO – MGIEP. ‘Shine Your Light’ is about empowering every individual to make a difference in their own lives to contribute towards the global efforts of climate action. After all, if we want to change the world, we must start with ourselves. The journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step.
National Anthem – https://youtu.be/gv-8PgFxbTc
Artists: Ricky Kej, Chaitra HG, Charanraj, IP Singh, Varijashree Venugopal, Sumarani,
A beautiful instrumental rendition of India’s national anthem accompanied by the imagery of India’s incredible flora and fauna. Don’t forget to stand for it.
“Ek” is an album that consists of sonically different songs that are incredibly enjoyable to listen to. They all share a common message though, our world can only survive if we all are one.
Verdict: A great collection of musically brilliant and environmentally conscious tracks.