Music

Serving up tasteful tunes

Ranjot Barot compares music to cooking and believes in offering the very best dish

MTV returns with the sixth season of Royal Stag Barrel Select MTV Unplugged. After a powerful opener, the third episode features Benny Dayal and Neeti Mohan with percussionist Ranjit Barot arranging and performing with Benny and Neeti. Barot, who has been a long-time associate of AR Rahman, talks about his experience.

“Working with Benny and Neeti was exciting. I don’t do anything that I’m not excited about,” he says. “The experience was great. They are wonderful musicians. They take directions well. I was able to guide them to a fun place. We produced high-quality music which is tasteful and accessible.”

Barot said he was happy to be part of the show. “I’ve done two seasons with them already. I took a break. It is great that there is a platform for music amidst a glut of reality shows.”

When people listen to the show, Barot says they should have fun and realise, “We are raising the bar with the programme. We strive for excellence everyday of our lives. No matter what context we are in; be it jazz, jazz-rock fusion, pop or indie, I’ve always stood for excellence. I’ve been doing this for 40 years. I come into it like somebody who is well-informed and yet, at the same time, a complete novice.”

He goes on to say that there is a game plan and a map in his mind when he approaches music but it isn’t written in stone. “I have to work with the elements I have. It is not very different from cooking. Some days you have Basmati, some days you don’t. You still have to make something tasty. That is really the endeavour!”

Is it a good time to be an independent artiste in India? Barot says, “Absolutely. I think India is very forward thinking. Be it the new generation of music lovers or us old school people, we’ve always embraced new music. Indie music is healthy, alive and kicking and has a bright future.”

Going down memory lane, Barot says he has been blest. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the best of the best. It has shaped me into the person that I am. I think it is very important to work with people who are better than you along the way so you can push yourself. It is never good to be top dog all the time. It is not healthy. You have to be in positions that challenge you in music so you can dig deep. Human beings perform well when faced with obstacles. That is human nature. And that is the only place I want to be. I am not happy being complacent. There is a lot of talent, I want to find that talent and embrace it and see what it does to me and what I can do to that talent.”

Where is his music taking him in the future? The veteran says with a laugh: “We have no idea really. Who knows? I’ll just keep doing what I do and I believe, we all create our future. It is not completely unknown. You have to shape it yourself.”

To aspiring musicians, he says, “You should reach for the stars. Don’t impose any limitations on yourself. You can do anything you want. This I sincerely believe. Work hard, study music and keep yourself informed. With access to limitless information, there really is no excuse any more. Take it and incorporate it into your DNA. Find that part of you that resonates with the music and surrender to it.”

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 3:23:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/Serving-up-tasteful-tunes/article17341176.ece

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