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‘People are curious to go beyond and explore new works’

In conversation with DT Next she talks about the upcoming show, her album, projects and lots more.

‘People are curious to go beyond and explore new works’
Music composer and violinist Harini ?Rini? Raghavan will be performing with her band

CHENNAI: Music composer and violinist Harini ‘Rini’ Raghavan will be performing with her band at Barracuda Brew on February 17.

Having been trained formally in Carnatic music, the musician has developed her own style, Indian Electronica, and performs globally with her band.

In conversation with DT Next she talks about the upcoming show, her album, projects and lots more.

How excited are you to hit the road touring?

Very! It’s been five years since we came to India and the pandemic really affected live music everywhere. I’m so happy to see it reviving all over the world now and right now the Indian indie scene is looking amazing. I’m partnering with Quriosity to tour for the first time in some of the cities in India and also conduct workshops. It’s really going to be an invigorating experience and I hope I go back with a ton of memories and inspiration to create more music when we get back.

What are you looking forward to from the show?

Connecting with audiences that we haven’t seen in a while and new audiences that have been following us since. Chennai is very special to me as it is my hometown and its seen me at every stage of my musical journey. So I have school classmates, people I have worked with before and family all coming to the show making it a very warm space to perform new music.

What are the songs you will be performing? Any unreleased tracks from your album?

Most of my set for this tour comes from songs that were released as a part of the series Blue Carpet Sessions- Mango Showers, and The Lost City of Puhar, to name a few. I started these in 2018 after my last India tour as a platform to experiment with different instruments and artists and consistently release videos of our recording sessions. I’m also playing some of my older popular songs like Spirit of the String and Raghuvamsa Sudha. We’ve never played songs from Blue Carpet Sessions live in India before. I also have a couple of new arrangements of my favourite AR Rahman songs included in the set.

Harini ‘Rini’ Raghavan

We have seen music fuse and evolve into different genres. What is Indian Electronica according to you?

To me, Indian Electronica is a blend of electronic synth pad textures, synths based on Indian raga motifs, Carnatic melodies, Jazzy chords and a cool Rock groove played by musicians with different stylistic origins. I’ve called it many different names apart from Indian Electronica like Indian Jazztronica and Carnatic Electro Jazz. It really depends on the audience sometimes and what they listen to and can relate to from what I play. In the US, I’ve even had my music called Art Rock.

How do you think the music industry has grown through the years?

I have been specifically following the indie space in India over the last few years and I’ve seen so much growth starting from venues to play at, festivals that celebrate a certain type of indie music and even usage of indie songs in OTT platforms. Now there is a market for indie music even for private and corporate events. In the US, there’s growth in the market for culturally-rich music from different parts of the world. There are more people who are curious to go beyond music from their culture or pop music and explore new works that are genre-bending and more people who are programming such music in performing arts theatres.

You’ve had the opportunity to work on some incredible projects and people. What was it like working on the Madhuri Dixit-starrer The Fame Game?

Amazing! The creator Sri Rao has been a long-time collaborator now. We worked together on his musical Bollywood Kitchen back in 2019. In 2020, Sri approached me with The Fame Game script and spoke about how he envisioned my voice and violin as the voice of the main character. So I teamed up with an experienced South African Composer, Andrew Orkin, to create the themes for the show. It worked great cause this was my first stint at composing for a show and Andrew and I brought complimentary skills to the table. Through the pandemic, this was one constant project I worked on and we did so many virtual group sessions for posts with the editor Monisha and Sri. Being a part of this creative process was a very interesting and new experience for me and it was a pity that we couldn’t all meet in person or be in India for the release because of COVID. We are super thrilled at the reception of the show though and that Madhuri Dixit was the face of it all.

What’s next for you? Any album you are working on?

Yes! I plan to release more Blue Carpet Sessions. The songs may be released more as an EP - a collection of three songs or so. I have more shows in the US planned for later and possibly Canada in Summer. I’m also touring with the Grammy-winning band American Patchwork Quartet.

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Muskaan Ahmed
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