A little about my background

Sunday, November 1, 2009
This is just a small piece about my background written by my daughter, Jasmin Lord. Feel free to leave a comment or question and I'll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

KERSI LORD, one of the leading and most innovative musicians in the Indian Film Industry, began playing music professionally at the tender age of 14. His legacy of a career, which has been going strong for more than 60 years now, has been driven by his passion and desire to learn about and contribute to the music industry on a whole.

Kersi was born in Bombay on February 14, 1935 into a family of musicians. His father, the pioneering Indian percussionist Mr. Cawas Lord, is known today as a legend in the Indian music industry. Kersi’s younger sister, Hilla Lord, a talented pianist and younger brother, Burjor Lord (better known as Buji), an ace percussionist also inherited the family genes. Kersi’s mother, Banubai, and most of her brothers were also musicians.

Right from the get go Kersi chose music over everything else; skipping school in order to play at the legendary song recordings of Mr. Naushad. Under the guidance of his father, he began his professional career by mastering various Latin-American percussion instruments, which had incidentally been introduced to India by his father. Cawas also taught Kersi how to play the drums.

In those days, Kersi was considered a very fine Jazz drummer with a novel, fresh style of drumming which incorporated Indian rhythms. This unique combination made him stand out from the rest.

His father’s persistent encouragement, led Kersi to pursue a vast and varied education in his field, beginning with piano under the guidance of Miss Roda Khodiaji. Although he never took up the piano professionally, he naturally progressed to the Piano Accordion which he soon became proficient at playing. In fact, his expertise at playing rhythmic as well as melodic instruments allowed him to develop his very own technique of accordion playing which incorporated Jazz harmony as well as Latin rhythmic phrases. This unique style became apparent with the extremely famous song “Roop Tera Mastana” by the late Mr. S. D. Burman.

To further improve his knowledge, Kersi began studying Jazz Harmony from various teachers like Mr. Hal Green, Mr. Dizzy Sel and a few others.

Despite already being a well versed musician, Kersi decided to continue his musical education. He learnt Indian Classical Music from the famous P. Madhukar (Harmonium) and Inam Ali Khan (Tabla) for a year or two but also continued learning theoretical aspects of Western Classical Music including Traditional Harmony, Counterpoint, Composition, Orchestration and Conducting from Dr. Coelwriter, Prof. Bueller of Germany, and Prof. Herbert Haslam of USA. This expert classical training from both fortes was extremely helpful later, during his experience as an arranger in the Indian Film Industry and as a composer for ad films, documentaries, TV serials and jingles.

Kersi was a principle percussionist with the Bombay Chamber Orchestra and the Bombay Philharmonic for almost three decades. He was also the Chairman of the Bombay School of Music and the Cine Musicians Association for a few years.

During this period, Kersi and his brother Buji performed a very difficult piece of Western Classical Music Repertoire along with two famous American pianists - Bartok’s ‘Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion’. Later, Kersi also performed great classical works, including Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ and Beethoven’s ‘Ninth Symphony’ twice, with two different conductors, his previous teachers Dr. Coelwriter and Prof. Bueller. These are just the highlights of his Western Classical Repertoire.

During the same time Kersi introduced the Glockenspiel to India, taking it to the studios of Bombay (now known as Mumbai). This instrument gained tremendous popularity with the songs of the late music director Mr. Jaidev from his film ‘Hum Dono’. Kersi was behind the enigmatic musical lighter theme which featured throughout the film.

From the early seventies, Kersi delved deeply into electronic music and made popular his style of playing the Electric Organ, using lots of electronic guitar gadgets like the Wow-Wow Pedal, Phasers, LFOs, Flangers, SFX units, Tape Echoes, etc.; a very unique sound for Indian film music.

Kersi was the first to introduce the ‘MOOG’ synthesizer in India, only three months after it was marketed in the USA. He also popularised the Echo Chamber (popularly known as the Echolite), a variety of synthesizers and the Rhythm Composer (Drum Machines); playing with the famous and most innovative composer of the Indian Film Industry, Mr. R. D. Burman.

Since 1967, Kersi has composed and arranged music for numerous films and has assisted many famous music directors like Naushad, Usha Khanna, Madan Mohan, Kalyanji-Anandji, Brij Bhushan, R. D. Burman and Vanraj Bhatia.

He accompanied Kishore Kumar for a concert tour of the whole of the West Indies in 1969. From 1977 to 1982 Kersi also accompanied Asha Bhosle and R. D. Burman for concert tours to the UK, Holland, USA, Canada, Mauritius and Dubai; performing in the most prestigious halls including the Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Fisher Hall, Radio City Hall, etc.

Another outstanding achievement of his career was when he composed music for the famous play ‘Tughlaq’ which was directed by Alyque Padamsee; staring Kabir Bedi in the lead role. Alyque wanted the score to consist of mainly percussion instruments. The recording was done on a very tight budget and used three percussionists, Kersi and even Alyque. A review given in the Times of India said - “strange but extremely appropriate music by Kersi Lord”. He was also called ‘Mad’ by his friends and family as his modern and futuristic conception couldn’t be digested by everyone.

In more recent years, Kersi did the string arrangement for two French singers, Princess Erika and Damien Saez. These works were very well appreciated in France.

At the beginning of 2006 he was contacted by composers Didier (Didier Le’Plae) and Wong (Joe Wong) of USA. They were coming to India to record the music for the film ‘The Pool’. The special requirements for the project were that the music should be recorded with a group of live musicians, including the famous Manohari Singh, and on an Analogue Tape Recorder. Always drawn to a challenge and being a big fan of analogue sound, Kersi took up the difficult task of arranging the soundtrack and recordings sessions which were completed in 2006. ‘The Pool’, which was shot in Goa, received the ‘Critics Award’ at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival; among many other award shows in the U.S.A.

Today, Kersi is happily retired from the busy schedule of playing, recording, arranging and composing in Indian studios. But, he continues to enjoy studying and analyzing the changing trends of the latest in World and Indian music.


Hemant Trivedi said...

Why is there no reference of CMA ? or is it that I still have't found one yet on your site?

Kersi Lord said...

There is a mention of Cine Musicians Association and not CMA.

Hemant Trivedi said...

Sir I cannot find reference of it. Please help me find it.

Kersi Lord said...

Please refer to Para 9.

Hemant Trivedi said...

Yes sirji ...I found it.God bless u & your dear ones.

Kersi Lord said...

Long Live CMA

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