Rahul Mukerji is a ‘guitarist’s guitarist’ who revels in a self-penned musical hybrid shot through with intensity, precision and plenty of ethnic flavorings. His 11 track album “Ma De Re Sha” is a big sounding recording with enough of twists and turns to make Rahul’s solos sound both dynamic and interesting. The opening track “Exit 13” sets the outline tones of this collection of songs. It balances lyrical eclecticism with an Indian twist while his incredible chops help him forge his own style. There are plenty of incendiary guitar breaks and harmony guitar parts, but Rahul also demonstrates a lightness of touch which is almost playful at times. This aspect is offset by several complex moments that explore rock, fusion, jazz, and world music as he cleverly balances the obtuse with the accessible.
“Ma De Re Sha” is full of diversity, a wide range of solos and an array of tone colors. He glues together all the elements on ‘Sita’, which he tops with an incredible solo, after slipping into some hard riffing above adamant percussion and belligerent strumming. The melodic duality of ‘Fingerprints’ is partially mirrored by the subtle dynamic tension between his exemplary playing and his acoustic sensibilities laced with multi tracked harmonies.
The world-wandering feel of the album is evidenced by the way Rahul suddenly switches between the acoustics and an intense, high octane bluesy fusion feel on ‘Children of 1-2’. It’s his constant search for a deeper meaning to match his catchy licks that gives him real crossover potential, exemplified by the booming ‘call and response’ lyrical yearning of his guitars.
Rahul Mukerji saves a big impact for ‘Zidd’, on a collision of understated acoustic power, song craft and intense electric guitar playing. The big building crescendos is effectively a musical sleight of hand, as it suggests yet another succinct resolution to a bulldozer of an album, but “Ma De Re Sha” has more depth than that. It’s a frequently multi-layered and surprisingly diverse album full of magisterial guitar lines that constantly draws Rahul into new musical avenues.
He’s at his best on the twists and turns of the title track ‘Ma De Re Sha’ and the high octane ‘Baisakhi’, while ambient, slow-burning new age groove of ‘Hope Anew’ is an example of an artist following his own musical path. The quiet ‘Event Horizon’ and the harsh album closer ‘Sinner’ reveals new nuances with repeated plays.
All throughout Rahul Mukerji’s musical knowledge, breathless guitar playing and imaginative arrangements shape the musical vision of a virtuoso with a penchant for real songs. The songs themselves are varied and cluster around Rahul’s established strengths as a composer and performer.
Rahul based in Maryland, USA, but born in India, was featured in the Guitar Player Magazine Editors’ Picks in 2008. He is also a guest Guitar Instructor on the Shred Academy website, and he has been performing live for over fifteen years.
The compositions and the arrangements on “Ma De Re Sha” were inspired by interactions with people from different cultural backgrounds and walks of life, all filtered through the prism of Rahul’s own multicultural upbringing between East and West. The actual making of the music involved coordination with musicians, as well as mixing and mastering engineers living in the US, Germany, Spain, and France.
“The name for the album, as well as the title song, is derived from a word that a friend’s daughter used to exclaim at every occasion she could find,” explained Rahul Mukerji. “No one quite knows what it means, but she made it up herself and she just loved clamoring it with conviction and glee. This project is similar, as it’s a deeply personal statement, and the continuing journey to bring it to fruition has been a labor of love.”
Rahul Mukerji: Producer, songwriting, arrangements, guitars, guitar synth, e-bow, sampling, tabla and drum programming
Bruce Ng: Co-producer, arrangements, additional drum and percussion programming on all tracks
Ruben Rubio: All basses