'There's no age for music'

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'There's no age  for music'

Little needs to be said about composer and playback singer Shankar Mahadevan. From his ‘Breathless’ days to the more recent Bhaag Milkha Bhaag part of his life, he has contributed greatly to Indian music across languages, both independent and
mainstream.

Shankar, the brand ambassador of the recently-held Storm Festival in Bangalore, says that the campout festival was a concept waiting to take shape. “A festival like this is great to be a part of because the concept is to create an experience. You can’t compare it to a rock music festival but it’s really picking up,” he says, adding, “Shifting the festival to Bangalore has made it more accessible. Coorg was a great destination but to reach there was a nightmare.”

Storm Festival is merely one of the many new festivals springing up in India, most of which see the same artistes and bands perform every time.

On India’s festival culture, he says, “Each festival has its own USP and the audience differs in each city. Even in an international jazz festival, the artistes are repeated. A lot of people enjoy hearing an artiste over and over again. And look at Bollywood singers — there are about ten of them who keep performing all over the place!”

The festival saw him collaborating with American clarinetist and music composer Shankar Tucker, who blends classical Indian music, jazz and popular music to create a unique and original fusion sound. Did the age difference come in the way? He replies, “There’s no age for music. My son is 12 years old and performing with Lesle Lewis. It doesn’t matter as long as you respect each other’s work.”

While Shankar is currently busy working on various Bollywood films, there are also other big plans on the cards. “I’m launching my own music label. I also started my own Youtube channel of spiritual music and am working on ‘Folk Thump’, an album incorporating folk musicians and dance music. There are a lot of ideas but only 24 hours in a day,” he laughs.

Is dance music the way forward according to him. “It’s the thing of the present but it has to get a lot more exposure here. If somebody gives it that Indian twist, it’ll be great. I just collaborated with the American EDM producer BT for a single which is yet to be released. When you have a 20-year-old son in the house, you invariably get exposed to it. But then, anything new, out-of-the-box and innovative excites me,” shares Shankar.

On being asked his opinion on Bollywood music being altered by the wave of independent musicians, he comments, “Bollywood is like fashion — it’s a scene that goes on changing. Some things are short-lived while some last for a very
long time. Some things become instant hits while some artistes become big and then vanish. These things have been happening for years.”

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