We conversed musically: Rasika Shekar – For her latest single, Uproar, Rasika Shekar collaborated with three international artistes. The flautist and vocalist has also sung Bollywood songs like Sau Aasoon (Katti Batti), Hulla Re (2 States), and Daiyya Maiyya (Kill Dill), but is just as adept at rendering other genres. “My main vocabulary is Carnatic,” she says, while also counting names of international artistes she has enjoyed collaborating with. The musician talks about her multi-genre prowess.
After ghazals, Bollywood, and electronic music, is there a genre you haven’t tried yet?
I haven’t tried R&B and hip hop yet or explored the music from far east where the bamboo flute has cousins. I think I am going to try these soon.
Who have been your favourite collaborators?
John McLaughlin is amazing. Just being with him on the stage has a different vibe. You can really feel it. He incorporates all the musicians in his set and gives everyone a chance to play solos. He also shared his journey with us when we played together. I really cherish playing with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. I have learnt what it means to be an artiste from the trio. They have an open-minded approach towards music. Their passion and dedication are very inspiring.
Tell us about your Roots and Origins of India to Valencia concert in Spain?
Not many have heard the bamboo flute in Spain. I brought in Hindustani and Carnatic music to the performance and got the great response. Even though no one spoke English, when we started the concert, we conversed musically. There was a Spanish song that had the same theme as a Tamil folk song. It was a fusion of Carnatic and Flamenco — classical and folk genres.
What was the other exciting concert for you this year?
Sufi music is another genre that I love. So, Sound of Sufi for Singapore’s first MTV Unplugged at Esplanade was special. It was more vocals and some flute.
You divide time between Mumbai and New York. What do you call home?
I’m a nomad. Mumbai is home but my family is in NY. I go where the music takes me.
What’s usually on your playlist?
It’s extremely varied. I wake up to Ustad Amir Ali Khan, listen to traditional Arabic in the daytime and at night, it’s Bollywood. I also love listening to Chet Baker and electronic music.