Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a special lunch in Delhi in honour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, on April 12. Popular santoor player Rahul Sharma was invited to perform at the event. Apart from Indian classical notes, he also played a couple of songs by The Beatles on the santoor.
Listen to compositions by Rahul Sharma here
“I started with some folk music from Jammu & Kashmir, and then played Norwegian Wood and O Sweet Lord by The Beatles. I also played a contemporary classical composition,” says the santoor player, adding that the royal couple requested him to play another song by the iconic band. “I was requested to play Let It Be by The Beatles. It concluded the 30-minute recital,” he says. His wife, Barkha Sharma, played the tanpura during the performance.
While Rahul and Barkha enjoyed meeting the royal couple, the santoor player also had a long chat with PM Modi. “He was in a jovial mood. When I told him that Barkha is half Gujarati, he started chatting with her in Gujarati. He then announced to the crowd, ‘Rahul is my state’s son-in-law’,” says the santoor player.
The musician was also asked by PM Modi to tell the royal couple more about the santoor. “William said it sounded gentle, yet percussive. He was surprised to hear about my album with Kenny G. I’ll be sending him a copy,” he says, adding that about 40 guests were invited for the lunch. The guest list included the official spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs, Vikas Swarup, Bollywood actor Anupam Kher and minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj.