Introducing Project YUJ, a four piece, neo-Carnatic-funk band from Chennai. The word "Yuj" means ‘to join/concentrate’ in Sanskrit, and the group aim to do just that – fuse a range of genres to create a fresh, new sound.
The group’s four members come from diverse musical backgrounds, but we think they effortlessly blend together different genres to bring a great new piece!
Prakash Hariharan is a classically-trained mandolin player who won a National Level music competition in 2007, about 8 years after he began to perform. He is also an All India Radio ‘B’ Grade artist, and does some workin the film industry as well.
Alongside Prakash is Aalap Raju, who is a familiar name in the film playback scene. He has worked with top Indian film composers including Ilaiyaraaja, Harris Jeyaraj and G.V. Prakash, and won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer (Tamil) for the song "Ennamo Aedho" from "Ko".
A graduate of London’s DRUMTECH, Jeoraj George handles the rhythms for Project YUJ. Since his return to India, he has conducted several workshops and masterclasses, and performed at numerous festivals and regular works with renowned jazz, pop and classical musicians including AR Rahman, Sudha Raghunathan and George Brooks.
The fourth member of the group is Leon James, a 20-year-old keyboardist who was awarded the Best Keyboardist award by AR Rahman during a popular band hunt show in Chennai. He has also performed at a number of international music festivals including the Fete De La Musique and the Indigo Jazz and Blues Music Fest.
A few days ago, the group released a video for "Reethigowla Blues", which can be viewed below. The track has a bluesy vibe, but still maintains the integrity of the Carnatic ragam of Reethigowla. Check it out below and let us know your thoughts! We’re looking forward to hearing more from Project YUJ!