'I am just a singer of songs'

'I am just a singer of songs'

Jazz vocals

'I am just a singer of songs'

Considered one of the few female jazz vocalists in India, Vasundhara Vidalur has become synonymous with the revival of RnB, soul and jazz music in clubs. And now, she’s come up with a power-packed collaborative project called Merkaba, which challenges the stubborn definitions that lie within the music business.

     With Gino Banks on drums, Sheldon D’Silva on bass, Sanjay Divecha as the producer, Karan Joseph bringing in soul/RnB inflections and Vasundhara on vocals, the project hits the listener in all the right spots. In a chat with Ananya Revanna, Vasundhara talks about the project and her love for music.

How was the concept for Merkaba born?

Sanjay was looking to form a contemporary music project and had spoken to Gino about it already. We met at a jam last year and he asked me if I was interested. With Merkaba we are developing our own contemporary musical language. We value rhythm and harmony, and the music is friendly and fun. Lyrically, we talk about creating new paradigms and systems for community healing and self acceptance.  

What is unique about this project?

Merkaba is friendly, compassionate and easy to listen to and it comes from a place of love. It also challenges stubborn definitions that exist around us. The experience of playing this is very special.

What are these ‘stubborn definitions’ you are trying to challenge?

As humans, we are predisposed to label everything; our understanding of things is based on strict definitions which leads to a divisive worldview. Balancing this perspective can happen when we recognise the similarities between things as well. Musically, in Merkaba, we are reflecting exactly this by creating soundscapes that borrow from many genres but hold together in a very organic, natural and modern way.

Hardest part of being a jazz vocalist.

I am just a singer of songs. It doesn’t matter whether a song falls under the category of jazz, soul or pop, as long as it is a song I like, I sing it.

Biggest goof up you’ve made on stage and how you got past it.

Once there were 2 songs on our list with similar introductions and I sang the wrong song! The rest of the band covered for me by switching immediately so I was safe.

Do you have any ritual before going on stage?

I pray.

A musician who made you go ‘wow!’ within 30 seconds of hearing them.
Shubha Mudgal, when I first attended her concert at age 8.

If you could go back in time, what music timeline would you choose to live in?

I’m happiest here and I wouldn’t trade it for any other time.

The funniest thing you’ve heard about yourself.

People always guess my age wrong; they either think I’m a kid or that I am way older than I am. My bandmates love teasing me about it.

How does being a musician pay?

Earning well from music is possible. One has to know how to make good decisions and promise a high quality product.

The top 2 songs on your playlist right now.

‘In With The New’ by Emily Elbert and ‘Tremor’ by Advaita.

Advice to upcoming musicians.

Be clear on why you are playing music and never rush things.

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