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No musical barriers for Susheela Raman

British-Tamil musician Susheela Raman combines Carnatic with jazz, blues and soul, to collaborate with qawwals in her next project.

music Updated: Oct 30, 2011 15:26 IST
Nirmika Singh

Susheela Raman has transcended boundaries. And not necessarily spatial. The singer-musician-performer, known for her deep, intense vocals, looks forward to exploring audiences in India as she introduces her unique style — blending Carnatic music traditions with elements of jazz, blues and soul — to India. Raman, a British-Tamil musician, who grew up in Australia, recently performed acoustic versions of her songs at MTV Unplugged. “Performing for the show was an exciting experience. I got to work with some wonderful musicians. I feel it will be an amazing opportunity to connect with audiences in India,” says Raman, who has five albums to her credit, including the most recent Vel, which released this year.

Ask her how difficult or easy the process of marrying different music forms has been and she says, “It has been a real journey for me. I have gone deeper into our culture to explore it musically. Also, I’m open to learning because I’m not making music according to market expectations, but because I believe in whatever I do.”

Raman has also lent her voice to one of the track in Qaushiq Mukherjee’s Bengali film, Gandu. “I enjoyed working on the song for this film. Gandu did very well in Europe and went on to win awards too.”]

Also, Raman feels that it’s a good sign that Bollywood is opening up to newer sounds. “I feel that there’s a hunger among the audience. Among Bollywood composers, I like Amit Trivedi’s work because it’s different and edgy.” In her next project, Raman plans to expand her sonic scape by bringing in another musical tradition. “I have always been inspired by the music of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan so, in my next project, I have worked with the qawwali singers from Pakistan. Besides recording with them, I plan to perform with the group in London in April and follow it up with a bigger tour,” she says.