DJ Ravin, resident DJ of Buddha-Bar, Paris, gets set to make the Capital groove. SHALINI SHAH speaks to him
With the giant Buddha that gazes down on everything and everybody swathed in crimson-hued splendour, Buddha-Bar in Paris is a revered institution. The symbols of imported spirituality that dominate the ambience could be a part of the reason. Opened in 1997, Buddha-Bar has grown to be the highlight of Paris' night lights, combining cuisine, décor and, most importantly, music. DJ Ravin's association with Buddha-Bar is as old as the establishment itself; he's been resident DJ there since its inception. The DJ, now well-known for his mix of ethno-world beats, tribal, electronic and lounge, is scheduled to perform at The Blue Bar in Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi on March 26.
When we speak to him on the phone, he's on his way to boarding a connecting flight at Dubai airport.
The conversation, naturally, starts with what's “second home” for him. How is it to be a resident DJ at a place for 13 years?
“It's a unique place… Buddha-Bar. That's why I was very inspired playing music there, because it was not only about where people come to eat or to drink — it's more than that. It's like a temple of lounge music,” he replies.
“And I like to decorate the place with my music… Playing music there is a big gift and also a big passion. It's not only about playing music, it's about creating an atmosphere.”
Hailing from Mauritius, Ravin was 11 when he moved to Paris with his parents — it's been almost three decades now.
The initiation into music, he frankly tells you, happened because school held no attraction. “I was very, very bad in school, so I focussed on music. I was always listening to radio stations, preparing for programmes, exploring all kinds of music. That's why I quit school so early. My parents, however, were not happy.” Now they are.
After working in a record store for a while, Ravin started DJing at The Rex in Paris, before Buddha-Bar opened .
Ravin's also closely associated with Paris' fashion scene, having played at Jean Paul Gaultier's show in Paris, besides DJing at private parties for brands like Armani and Bulgari. “I have also done one for the Indian fashion lady Ritu Beri. You know this lady?” he enquires.
A significant part of Ravin's discography has been the Buddha-Bar CD compilations — a total of 12 volumes have been released, with Ravin having remixed seven of them. He has just finalised Buddha-Bar XIII, scheduled to release on April 26. “It's a very, very beautiful CD compilation with unique tunes never released, never compiled before.”
A compilation, he says, is also like a regular album in the sense “you take the crux, you tell a story with songs.”
While he's just finished working on the CD Dubai Eklektic with DJ Nicholas Sechaud, a solo album is also in the pipeline, which he describes as a “journey with the guys he's compiling on Buddha-Bar, just about meeting people and creating.”
While the album would be in the same style as the Buddha-Bar series, Ravin says, it will be “more personal, more underground, maybe more emotional. Emotional, definitely, because that's what I like to give to people.”
Also planned for the year-end is a special 12-hour box on Buddha Bar.
Growing up in Mauritius, Ravin recalls how Bollywood became his introduction to music. “At home we were always watching Indian movies and my mother loved Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle.”
The Indian influence continues; on Buddha-Bar VII, which Ravin remixed with David Visan, two CDs were a tribute to the sarod and sarangi respectively. “I like to share Indian music in a different way nowadays, in mixtures; it's more modern. That's why I decided to associate these two instruments because the sarangi and sarod are very emotional. In Buddha-Bar, Indian lounge definitely has its place.”