Here’s the thing about classical musician and urban folk artiste Vivek Rajagopalan. He is a percussionist by nature, having played with the likes of Lucky Ali, Austrian a cappella outfit Bauchklang and even UK beatboxer Shlomo. But once in a while, the purist artiste throws up surprise.
The mridangam exponent, electronica artiste and tadha beatboxer has produced and arranged the traditional lavani track, ‘Ka ho dajiba…’ for Mahesh Manjrekar’s forthcoming film, Jay Jay Maharashtra Mazha. Making the most of the moment, the music of the film releases today on Maharashtra Day.
“That bit wasn’t planned. Neither was the song title. It just happens to be a coincidence,” Rajagopalan feigns innocence. ‘Ka ho dajiba…’ has been reproduced and rearranged as a drum ‘n’ bass mix with only traditional Marathi folk instruments like the dhol, dholki and naal. “I wanted to keep the essence of lavani music alive, which is why I didn’t add traditional fusion instruments like drums or guitars or any foreign electronic samples. All I have done is keep the high energy and up-tempo beat, but given it a different sound,” says Rajagopalan.
Keeping the ethos of traditional Marathi music alive was very important to Rajagopalan, for no reason other than not being labelled ‘just another fusion mix.’ “It’s a situational song in the movie, which itself is a young, urban Marathi movie. It’s rediscovering the urban sub culture in rural Maharashtra. So, the music had to be rustic but modern. Personally too, I don’t like the fusion genre,” says Rajagopalan, who says this track is a “one-off thing” that he did for movies. He generally stays away from mainstream.
“I think enough people are doing it anyway and there are few people who give you the freedom to experiment. This is a one-of-a-kind sound. Nobody has done drum ‘n’ bass with Marathi instruments before. I think that novelty factor is its USP,” says Rajagopalan, who sat with music composer KC Loy to work on the song in order to appeal to the Maharashtrians of the noughties. “Cinema, art and music keep changing and that change is a measure of how people’s thought processes are evolving. We are only catering to that through this song,” he says.