Nirali & Kartik Shah: Bringing the worlds together
She is trained in Indian classical while he delves in western sounds. When they come together, what emerges is a new metaphor and a celebration of richness of both civilizations.
For musicians Nirali Shah and Kartik Shah, good music goes beyond strictly defined parameters and seeks to engage an unbound imagination. This was evident during the duo's outing at HCL Concerts in Delhi recently where they enthralled the audience with Indian rhythms and new-age sounds.
These founders of Indie music band 'Maati Baani', who created the song 'Balma' over the Internet in collaboration with 11 musicians across five countries, thereby making collaborative music as their USP, and stress that every time they set out to make music, the agenda is to erase boundaries and come up with something that surprises not just the audience but also themselves.
"Honestly, when we started out, we didn't think about forming a band. It happened very organically. We just set out to experiment and celebrate life and culture," Nirali Shah tells IANS.
Adding that it has always been important for the duo to kill preconceived notions about fusion, Shah says that their agenda has always been to introduce themselves and their audiences to newer experiences with music.
While ascertaining that their music always boasts of Indian classical element and folk traditions even when they collaborate with artistes across the world, the duo feel that technology has become a great facilitator for artistes. "How else can you think of working with people from across the world? For people like us, who are forever hungry to learn about music from other cultures, technology like the Internet has surely been a boon."
At present working on songs that bring out the Indian sound, Nirali says, "Frankly, we would like to close the gap between Indian classical and folk. In other words, we would like to be a bridge."
Admitting that it is extremely tough to survive as an independent musician in a Bollywood-obsessed India, the musician says, "One is forever slogging, taking favours from technicians and collaborators. The lack of corporate support, except from brands like HCL make things more grim. Sadly, even the media prefers to write about those engaged with film industry."
Talk to her about the fact that albums seem to have become a thing of the past, and singles are ruling the roost, and she asserts, "This has to do with limited resources, especially when record companies don't back Indie musicians. Therefore, singles prove to be more viable and affordable financially."
She laughs that unlike previous times, purists don't frown upon musicians like the duo who are into collaborations. "So many classical artistes have been encouraging me and tell me that it is always wise to introduce audiences to new sounds."
Rohit Kaul, General Manager (Marketing), HCL says that supporting Indian classical music goes with the company's brand philosophy of touching lives. Adding that despite its international presence, the roots of the company remain 'Indian', he says, "We started HCL concerts in 1998 and over the years they have expanded to several cities including Lucknow, Nagpur, Chennai, Madhurai, Bengaluru besides New York and San Francisco."
Stating that as things have evolved, collaborations in music also find a place in HCL concerts now, he says, "Good music is good music. We are committed to providing an excellent platform to artistes. From artiste selection, venue to curation, everything is handled by an in-house team."