A unique blend of blues, rock and world grooves
Another of Vija’s passions is music. The first album he has written and produced is Earthcircle 4022, containing a unique blend of blues, rock and world grooves. It can be streamed on iTunes, Amazon & Spotify. There are two more albums in production to be released soon.
You can watch Vija’s official music videos on his YouTube channel.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Vij recalls that the sum total of his school musical education amounted to devastatingly exciting old English tunes such as “D’ye Ken John Peel”. It was only when he went to medical school in Sheffield that he was introduced to the Spanish guitar by a friend. He proceeded to teach himself and took frequent breaks from his evening studies to work on his finger-picking. Three of his early compositions had distinctively catchy medical elements – for example, Kreb’s cycle, bacterial endocarditis, and acute glomerular nephritis.
His early acoustic guitar and vocal influences included Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen and Simon & Garfunkel. However, his greatest influence was undoubtedly the band Yes – with their sophisticated symphonic arrangements, Steve Howe’s virtuoso guitar styles, and Chris Squire’s growling bass lines. He still manages to stumble hopelessly when playing even the simplest phrases of Steve Howe’s guitar work. So he leaves the clever stuff to his brother Pardeep. Other influences were Santana for the melodic guitar work and Latin grooves, Mark Knopfler for his exemplary song-writing and guitar-playing, and Peter Gabriel for his song-writing and production techniques.
Vij’s song arrangements often include a dash of Indian and Middle-Eastern rhythms. He also likes to experiment using different objects for percussion purposes (such as a cow scapula and rib, biscuit tins, and cloth scraping), and using specialised wind instruments (such as a hollow ostrich egg and a cylindrical DVD case).
Regarding lyrics, one of his earlier medical school compositions included a most satisfyingly lengthy name of an enzyme in the short ditty called The Party:
There was Will Rubin,
Penelope Cillin, and from across the sea so blue,
Uri Dine Diphosphate Glucose Glycogen Transglucosylase, too.
Another early song was the iconic Subacute Bacterial Blues, which looks at the world from the viewpoint of a bacterium that has infected an aortic heart valve:
More recently, Vij was particularly pleased to have included, in his song Arc of infinite radius, the first nine elements of the Periodic Table in order of atomic number (H He Li Be B C N O F).
The track “One Giant Leap for mankind”, from his album Earthcircle 4022 was inspired by Neil Armstrong’s historical speech from the Moon, and this song paraphrases the apostle Peter’s preaching at Pentecost after the Resurrection. The video for the song was filmed in Jerusalem and Galilee.
Most of the songs are inspired by a Biblical theme. Once the lyrics and tune are worked out, Vij records a draft version, and then Chris Height (drums, vocals), Andrew Dickinson (bass) and Pardeep Sodera (guitar, harmonica, keyboards) come in to work on the clever bits – “the icing on the cake”. Mark Sharp played keyboard on many of the songs before he moved to Denmark.
Most of the recordings were done in Vij’s studio. The videos for the songs were filmed and edited by Vij and his daughter Lisa, who have worked as a team for many years. Additional vocals, saxophone and keyboards are provided by Lisa and his older daughter, Melanie.