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Back to classical

Recorded in France, Niladri Kumar’s new album is old school Indian musi

music Updated: Dec 12, 2010 14:42 IST
Aalap Deboor

His fusion of Indian classical music with electronica may have earned him repute. But for the time being, zitar (modified electric sitar) player Niladri Kumar wants to revisit the most pristine form of his roots.

Dedicated to my father
The fusion artist has recently cut a classical music album titled Aura, which he recorded in a chapel during his tour of France this July. Kumar says that the enthusiasm his audience demonstrated inspired him to promptly arrange for mics and other recording equipment from a nearby studio. “The concert went on for about three hours, and everyone loved it. It was Guru Purnima that day, so I decided to dedicate the album to my father,” Kumar says.

The 74-minute recording is a live performance of the ‘raag’ Chandramukhi, which Kumar’s father, Kartick Kumar composed 25 years ago. “My father once played it in Varanasi, and the audience heard it and asked him to rename it to ‘Tulsi Kaus’. A shortened version constitutes this album,” he adds.

Scheduled to hit the racks this weekend, the album has been mixed and mastered by Eric Pillai who has engineered songs for various Bollywood movies. Kumar designed the album art himself. “I believe that classical music won’t sell like those of a Bollywood film. But there is an audience who buys such music. It’s a challenge I’ve taken up against the stereotype,” he says.

Classical music lives
Kumar is aware that it has become difficult to earn money through record sales. But he will donate proceeds of his royalty to a SantaCruz-based charity. “I’ve kept my target as 3,000 copies, and after I’ve surpassed that figure, I will throw a party! I believe that one can still sell classical music if it’s channelled the right way,” he adds.