UCLA faculty, team and alumni have contributed musical works which are selected for the 59th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12. Their talents, which range from playing the saxophone to compose songs to performing in an opera, happen to be recognized with nominations in five distinct categorizations. Twelve year-old Abhiman Kaushal anxiously tapped out tabla rhythms he’d practiced all night for his tutor in India. The tabla is a Southern classical percussion instrument comprising some of small drums. Classical Indian music spirituality, values and methods for life that Kaushal learned from his teacher manifested in his tabla playing today. Kaushal can be an adjunct associate professor of the ethnomusicology class Music of India in the Herb Alpert School of Music, and he performed within White Sun 2017 album White Sun two, selected for Best New Age Album in the 2017 Grammy Awards.
The album New Age music, which consists of highly layered instrumentals and soothing vocals to station emotions of serenity, includes parallels from the traditional Indian music style that Kaushal has examined since it were a young kid. On New Year’s Eve within 2015, Gurujas Khalsa, the lead vocalist of the New Age group White Sun, invited Kaushal at her first meeting with her and group members Adam Berry and Harijiwan Khalsa. Kaushal said he’d always been profoundly touched by the Gurujas Khalsa clear and profound voice in the group. Those music components simply fell into place, Kaushal said. To create the music on the album, Gurujas Khalsa said he found melodies she wrote to 5, 000 year old yogic mantras which are intended to improve cognitive functioning. Two time Emmy Award Berry composer Berry then wrote majority of the instrumentation and Harijiwan Khalsa proceeded to structure adjustments and guided the production of the tracks. Kaushal improvised his tabla playing in least 95 percent of the time, unlike many who utilize sheet music, Gurujas Khalsa said. Playing the music he’d learned as a young kid, Kaushal appeared relaxed, happy and as if he was within an alternative time and space, Gurujas Khalsa said.