Music made for the soul

Reewa Rathod

She’s grown up on ragas, Blame her fabulous genes for that. With the golden-voiced duo Sunali and Roop Kumar Rathod for parents, it is no wonder that Reewa Rathod has found her calling in the world of music. And now her latest rendition, ‘Maula’, marks her collaboration with the iconic lyricist Gulzar.

Working with legends

“Gulzar sahab is one of the most divine souls I have ever come across,” she says. “He is my mentor, friend, and biggest inspiration. I am enamoured by his life and work. He inspired me to create ‘Maula’. Last year I went to his place and played to him one of my songs. My style of composing left him intrigued and we decided to do an album together. That was the best day of my life.”

She is the youngest composer the lyricist has ever worked with. That marks quite a coup for Reewa. “When he first wrote ‘Maula’, for this album, we brainstormed. I have challenged my limits with this song, by including many different vocal riffs and runs where east meets west rather seamlessly,” she says with a  smile. “I spend a lot of time writing in my head or coming up with ideas. But when my mind is a blank slate, I simply say, ‘God please give me a new tune’ and I stay quiet for a few days, and it happens. That is how ‘Maula’ happened. It just came to me from the one above,” she says. 

 Reewa perfected her moves on the piano under the tutelage of Shanti Seldon, went on to study Carnatic music from T R Balamani Iyer and Prasanna Varrier. “I am truly blessed to have received training under the doyens of Benaras Gharana, Padmabhushan Pt Rajan and Sajan Mishra,” she says, maintaining that she has her own unique style of singing and composing, with “of course, similarities in terms of vocal technique (with that of her parents)” but she usually tends to blend a few different genres.

Of course, the DNA runs rather strong as Reewa is also the granddaughter of Late Pandit Chaturbhuj Rathod of classical Dhrupad tradition. “Since the time I was born, I grew up listening to various genres of music and the house was always filled with the sounds of the tanpura. I am nocturnal and usually prefer practising at night,” she reveals. “Although I have sung and composed all the songs for this project, ‘Maula’ is my absolute favourite. I have tried to give different flavours to all other tracks and I am sure people will love listening to them again and again as much as I loved composing and singing them.”

 Her first public performance was the opening act for the feted Bryan Adams concert in 2011 in Pune, where she sang her own song ‘Crossing Limits’. Followed her own solo concert soon enough in 2013. Reewa’s track ‘Enroute Ganesha’ has been featured in the 20 years compilation of the renowned label Buddha-Bar that she has sung and composed. She has also composed a track for the Spanish film Rastres De Sandal, starring Nandita Das and Aina Clotet. Music makes her world go round. “Ustad Salamat Ali Khan Saheb is one of my favourites, and so is Michael Jackson -- I wish I had sung a duet with Michael Jackson in his song ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’; lent my voice to ‘Malargale’ (a Tamil song by AR Rehman), Jeev Laga (a Marathi song by Asha Bhosle and composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar) and O Saiyaan (sung by Roop Kumar Rathod),” she says of her wish list.

Comes from within

 “All my compositions are soulful with a lot of vocal techniques and a blend of various emotions. A song for me is like a tattoo which will be with me forever,” says Reewa. “I want people to enter my world through my music.” Taking this forward, she has done a few more songs with Gulzar Sahab that will be launched shortly and is also working with Budhha-Bar on their next album. “But the prize project is my upcoming single with none other than the maestro himself, Ustaad Zakir Hussain, and the world-renowned saxophonist Chris Potter,” she says, the excitement evident in her voice. Any pearls of wisdom for those who aspire to be in her shoes? “I always believe when you put your heart and soul into something you love the most, it always pays off. There is a space for every musician in this industry, you simply just need to find yours.”

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Music made for the soul

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