Tell us about your new album, Kingdom of Rhythm.
This is an album of sheer rhythm. I have never attempted an album, which is pure rhythm so far. Be it Rhythmscape, Folktail, Interface, One etc… all these albums are melody-driven with large doses of Rhythm. But Kingdom of Rhythm is rhythm in all it’s pulsating forms, all the way!
You are the first tabla maestro ever to be offered an endorsement by the biggest drum-heads company in the world-REMO. Tell us about that?
Well, I was contacted by the company primarily for my work as a multi-percussionist. For the past few years, I have been using all kinds of combinations in my shows. From the now familiar two tablas and hand sonic set up of Rhythmscape, I also do standing sets with Djembes, Darabouka, frame drums, hand sonic and yes, a standing tabla set up too! They felt that my work as a multi-percussionist needed to be recognised, so!
Your big Bollywood break, Little Zizou is ready for a March release. Any other projects?
I had an absolutely wonderful experience working on Little Zizou. The film is absolutely brilliant and I am sure whoever sees it will fall in love with it. I am also scoring for The Diamond Murders, a thriller. I have just recorded a song with Sunidhi Chauhan and another with a new singer called June Banerjee. I am also scoring for three Bengali films.
You have played on one Grammy-winning album and three Grammy-nominated albums. Why is it that such big awards are only rarely associated with Indian musicians?
Most of the Indian labels do not send our work to the Grammy academy. This is the reason why Indian artists are neglected internationally. It is more often when a foreign label steps in that good work gets recognised globally. This was the case with Raviji’s, Anoushka’s and George Harrison’s albums which I performed on.
What is your idea of bliss?
Peacefully lying on a sea beach watching the sun set. A drink is optional.