Joe and I go a long way back. I think he is one of the most talented musicians in Chennai. He is a wonderful singer and is especially skilful at arranging harmonies.
When the concept of River Records - capturing interesting musicians and working with non-film music - was taking shape, recording Joe and his choir was one of the first ideas that came to my mind. I got in touch with him and finalised a date and we got about getting everything ready for the recording.
The recording was done at St. Mary's Church (Chennai) which was built in 1680 by the East India Company. Located at Fort St George, St. Mary's Church is believed to be the oldest British building in India. It's a beautiful structure and definitely deserves more attention than it currently gets.
On the day of the recording, we (myself and Jai Shankar Iyer of Music from The Place) headed to the church by mid day and met Joe and the Cherubim Singers and the crew of Angela Studios (who very beautifully captured the session on video) at the venue. The recording went pretty smoothly except for a small glitch due to a particular cable related issue and in a couple hours, we had the material we required.
It's not every day that we get to record in a 300-year-old Church, so we were all extremely excited to be there and we couldn't have asked for better location as besides being beautiful and historically rich, the building also had a major role to play in how the final music turned out - the reverb provided by the church was excellent and only added to the beauty of the final output. All the choir members were extremely talented musicians and we had a brilliant time recording them.
If you listen closely you might just be able to listen to some faint fluttering of wings in the background in some places - that would be the resident pigeons of St Mary's Church who inadvertently became a part of this episode of River Records!
Check out the videos and photo gallery below. I hope you enjoy watching/listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it!