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Music from the valley

Friday, October 05, 2018

Santoor Maestro Rahul Sharma likes to disappear after a concert and spend time with family, says Verus Ferreira

Like his father Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Rahul Sharma is a master of the santoor. He weaves magic when he plays. He has taken the sounds of Indian classical music to the world stage even adding a foreign flavour to his work fusing rock, pop, world, new age. 

Verus Ferreira met up with the Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea endorsee, to trail his chartbusting career and how he makes the santoor more appealing to the New Age generation.

A few years ago you played a special performance for a luncheon that was hosted by PM Narendra Modi in honour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Any memories?

Well, it was an honour to be invited to perform at The Hyderabad House where for a select gathering the performance was held. The PM asked if I was going to play Coldplay, on the santoor, to which I said Beatles which was more befitting to the occasion. After the performance the PM wanted me to explain the intricacies of the santoor to the Prince and Princess and it was all a light hearted afternoon of music and good food in august company.

Do you feel the santoor has got the recognition it deserves?

The santoor was a little known Kashmiri instrument before my father gave it classical stature; he has many students who are performing around the world.  Well, Jammu is a small place and one really needs to broaden horizons and look beyond to collaborate in order to spread.

You have collaborated with internationally renowned musicians like Richard Clayderman and Kenny G. What made you decide to do these collaborations?

I would like to say that Atul Churamani was responsible for my first Clayderman album which became a success, and after that there was no stopping. I went on to do a good 60 albums and some of them were with Kenny G, Eric Moquet of Deep Forest and many more. Since I was already aware of these artists music, I could well imagine composing the collaborations too.

It’s been sometime since we saw you perform with your father? Anything planned?

My father and I rarely perform as we both are busy travelling. But the learning from him continues, we do about 1 or 2 concerts a year together.

What have you learnt from him?

Discipline, hard work and a flair for travel.

When it comes to album covers and formal occasions, are you very stylish and take a pick from your wife Barkha’s men’s boutique?

Well all my album covers are designed by Barkha and she has great taste and us extremely creative, so I stuck to her idea of dressing which makes it easier for me to step out in style.

When not travelling for concerts, how do you spend your free time, are you a social media person?

I’m not on social media at all; I prefer to disappear after being in the public eye for a concert or whatever. I love spending time with my wife Barkha and my four year old son Abhinav. We often take off on holidays and discuss music at those times.

Has your son Abhinav also taken to music in any way?

Abhinav has begun going to Dhirubhai Ambani School and already has a schedule, though he has begun learning from his renowned grandfather.

Have you been working on anything new lately and when can one expect a new album from you?

My last album was Dreams in 2015. After doing so many albums I need a break to be excited about some new concepts, and hopefully I’ll be out with something soon. I am doing far too many live concerts and travelling, but there’s something in the pipeline.

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