Shankar Tucker could well be the flag-bearer of the DIY music culture that has been on the rise in recent times. Towards the end of his scholarship in India in 2010, the clarinet player, who trained under Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia wanted a way to showcase his compositions. He bought a camera and started filming videos featuring the singers and musicians he had collaborated with in a studio set-up. He uploaded one video per week and in a couple of months, his YouTube channel, The ShrutiBox, received over eight million hits.
“I was just having a good time, shooting and editing the videos. But the response has been unexpected. I am very lucky that it worked,” says Tucker, who will perform tonight with his troupe comprising vocalist Nirali Kartik, composer Kartik Shah and tabla player Amit Mishra, as part of a music meet — The Park’s New Festival organised by The Asia Society India Centre at Blue Frog.
He will also participate in a discussion called ‘Online Jugalbandi!: Fusion Music Gone Viral’, which will be mediated by music composer and drummer Ranjit Barot.
“He is my idol and I am really excited about meeting him at the event,” says Shankar. The discussion will delve into the challenges and opportunities for indie musicians and will also explore the business model that led to the success of Tucker’s online project.
Says Barot, “It is an interesting and exciting time for musicians, because they can embrace technology to highlight their work. Also, it gives them the power to break free from the clutches of record labels that bind artistes to long-term contracts.”
Currently shuttling between the US, Mumbai and Chennai, Shankar is also looking forward to the release of the music he composed for a Tamil film. “It should be out in two months,” he says.
Ask him if a career in Bollywood is next and he says, “I’m not aiming for Bollywood. I am thinking more on the lines of working on my independent projects.”
Besides this performance, the Park Festival will feature an interactive theatrical performance by Sri Lankan stand-up comic D’FunQT tomorrow. There’s also a dance recital by Akram Khan on September 11.