By Sugandha Rawal
New Delhi– He followed in his father’s footsteps in taking the sounds of Indian classical music with his santoor to the world stage – and even added a foreign flavour to his work by blending the country’s folk music with western rhythms. Rahul Sharma, the son of santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, says one need not be clued into classical music to enjoy it.
“It’s a misconception that if you don’t understand classical music you cannot enjoy it. This is not true. Today I see several youngsters at my concerts. I guess when they see a younger artist who has the potential to be an icon, a connection is made with the younger listener.
“I think more classical concerts should be broadcast live and collaborations with popular western artistes will also help in making people aware of Indian classical music,” Rahul told IANS on the phone from Mumbai.
He had collaborated with Egyptian artist Georges Kazazian and Indian playback singer Sunidhi Chauhan for a project in 2011.
It was not the first time that Rahul joined hands with an international artist. He has also worked with French pianist Richard Clayderman and keyboardist Kersi Lord. He even collaborated with international musician Eric Mouquet on “Deep India” concert in 2013.
With receding popularity of classical music amongst youth, does he think the art form is fading?
“Not at all. Apart from my collaborations with Grammy winners such as Kenny G, Eric Moquet of ‘Deep Forest’, which had great sales in India, we also managed to reach the number one spot on the Billboard jazz charts with Kenny G and my album ‘Namaste’.
“I don’t think it (classical music) is neglected. It’s an individualistic imagination that helps an artiste to bring in audiences in India,” said the musician, who started accompanying his father to concerts at the age of 24 in 1996.
The talented composer, who gave music for the 2002 Hindi film “Mujhse Dosti Karoge!”, is a sought-after concert artiste and has released more than 40 albums including “Maya”, “The Rebel” and “Samandar”.
Rahul, who endorses Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea, a brand that has been synonymous with classical music, became part of a 14-hour-long music concert recently in Mumbai with sitarist Shahid Parvez and djembe player Taufiq Qureshi along with other artistes to celebrate the brand’s golden jubilee.
The artiste says he was floored by the idea as it presented different variations of Indian classical music.
“I think it’s a great idea to have so many classical musicians come together spanning a 14-hour duration. The beauty about Indian classical music is that it has a time cycle and different ragas are played from sunrise to sunset,” he said.