Ambika Jois is a singer-songwriter, a vibrant and versatile performer of genres ranging from Carnatic (Indian classical), Sugama Sangeetha, Western pop, jazz, soul and fusion.
Hailing from a musical family with generations of musicians, Ambika Jois was gifted with some of the key foundation blocks on which to build her musical career. Under the capable training of her father and violinist, Violin Chandru, she has emerged as one of the frontrunners for Indian classical recordings and performances in the UK.
Having grown up in London with multi-cultural influences around her, Ambika was determined to pursue a musical style that embodied all these influences. The result is ‘Indioul’, her unique stle that showcases an amalgamation of soul and Indian styles. With much determination, dedication, devotion and her Guru’s blessings, Ambika is going from strength to strength with both Carnatic, Light Classical and Indioul, and performs these styles across the UK and India regularly.
The Foundation Years
As a child artist, Ambika performed violin in numerous concerts in the late nineties, and subsequently made the conscious choice to purse her singing. Ambika’s training was by no means ordinary. Whilst originally from Bangalore, Ambika’s foundation in music training on both vocal and violin started in the mid-90s in her South West London home during which time her father was a violin teacher at the Bhavan Centre in London.
Ambika followed a traditional ‘Gurukulam’ style of learning, waking up in the early hours of the morning to squeeze in some practice before school. This only served to re-enforce her resilience as an artist.
First Performance Years
The surprising truth about Ambika’s first public performance is that it wasn’t a vocal concert. She bravely bowed through her first public performance on violin at The Bhavan Centre’s Annual Founders Day celebrations in 1996 when she was only 9. Just over a year later in 1997, she was featured in the Guardian newspapers as the youngest performer on violin at the Queen Elizabeth Halls’ Meltdown Festival ‘100 Violins’.
And so, from here on, Ambika took to the stage at every opportunity she had. That same year, Ambika took her first ever steps into a professional studio for an impromptu vocal recording of Patnam Subramaniam Iyer’s Paridhana Micchithe.
Ambika has worked with various producers in the UK which has added great value to her portfolio of work.
Ambika’s approach to music and the delivery of her ideas lead her to one of the UK’s chart-topping world music producers Shammi Pithia who featured her in his 2011 EP ‘Paredolia’ and 2014 album taking her to the Glastonbury BBC Introducing stage to perform the piece with Shammi and his band Flux. She is also a featured vocalist in Shammi’s 2014 album ‘COSMIC’ alongside vocalist Jatanil Banerjee. The most recent feature with vocalist Jatanil on the song ‘Ankaha’ was a feature on the BBC Asian Network’s Playlist B.
Ambika’s collaboration with UK’s record producer Rax Timyr of Rax Timyr Productions on ‘Meri Maa – Vande Mataram’, also featuring vocalist Kishan Amin in the global commemoration of India’s 64th Independence Day (2013), was scouted and released online worldwide under India’s biggest audio label Saregama India.
She also featured as the Other musicians that Ambika has lent her voice in collaboration with include – OD Hunte, Hed Kandi, BBC Concerto Orchestra, The Royal Ballet London, Bollywood music director Pritam, playback singers Harshdeep Kaur, Benny Dayal, Nikhil George, Ash King and Bollywood Strings UK. The original recording of ‘Meri Jaan’ with platinum award-winning record producer OD Hunte was release through the American music label Megatrax. She also featured as the lead vocalist on UK’s prominent dance music label Hed Kandi (owned by Ministry of Sound) for the Spring Mix of 2009 on the remix of Slumdog Millionaire’s ‘Jai Ho’ track.
Ambika has also gained credentials for her work as a featured backing vocalist for the renowned UK band Kasabian on their new album launch tour including Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage, Later With Jools Holland, BBC’s The One Show, Alan Carr – Chatty Man and Radio One Big Weekend (Glasgow). She is also credited in Kasabian’s Leicester Summer Solstice performance DVD as a featured vocalist.
Singing for dance
Ambika Jois, the inspiring, passionate and zealous young vocalist was back in the UK, ready to establish herself as a unique and versatile singer and songwriter in the UK and Europe. She has worked with senior Bharatanatyam dancers and dance teachers including Chitraleka Bolar from Chitraleka Dance Company, Anusha Subramaniam from Beeja Dance Company, Australia-based dance teacher Balasundari and Kerala-based dance teacher Shyamala Sundaram. Ambika has consistently delivered with impact and grace. She is rare in that she is one of the few UK based young female vocalists singing for classical dance performances.
Complementing screen and theatre
Ambika’s adaptable and multi-faceted vocal styles have elevated her to many opportunities till date bringing her tone to the forefront of the screen and theatre.
- The UK Channel 4’s major 10-part series ‘Indian Summers’ with music composed by Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare In Love, Billy Elliot) features Amdka’s vocals on the OST, over the scores enhancing the characters played by reputable actors Dame Julie Walters, Lillete Dubey, Roshan Seth, and Ash Nair to mention a few.
- Ambika also collaborated with the renowned young dancer Akash Odedra and The Royal Ballet for the Royal Opera House’s 2014 DraftWorks, showcasing her versatility as a vocalist singing a piece for an interpretation of the story of Prometheus in a mixture of Indian and Bulgarian styles.