For Suchismita Das who has been a Hindustani classical singer for two decades, her new song ‘Damaru’ which is a mix of Hindustani classical, rap and bass, is refreshingly new. Released on Shivaratri, this song was produced by Grammy Award-winning music composer Ricky Kej. The track, also featuring Mohini Dey on guitar, and London-based rapper Maya Miko, describes the glory of Lord Shiva.
With a beautiful landscape in the background of the video, Damaru is Suchismita’s latest composition.
Originally based out of Kolkata, she now shuttles between Mumbai and Los Angeles. Having dabbled with jazz, ghazals, fusion and pop, Suchismita feels she truly belongs with music regardless of the genre.
Having worked with AR Rahman, Shankar Mahadevan, Preetam, Javed Akhtar, and Thomas Newman ( The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel), Suchismita, who has been learning music since she was four, feels music is her breathing space.
“I would love to work more on this semi-classical genre ‘Thumri’” she says, speaking from LA, in a video interview with The Hindu. Some excerpts
How did ‘Damaru’ originate?
I’m an ardent follower of Lord Shiva and I wanted to compose a song which reflected this devotion. When I started working on the song in 2019, Ricky produced it partially and sent it to me. The beats were beautiful. As I listened to it, I realised the song exuded high levels of energy and infusing rap into it made sense. That is how ‘Damaru’ came into being.
How is the Hollywood music industry different from the Hindi film industry?
They have a plan, and they execute it. It is very streamlined. The Hindi film industry is improving on that front, but still has a long way to go.
Many new musicians do not learn classical music anymore. Is it a problem of accessibility?
If you have a foundation in classical music, you can adapt to other genres easily. I feel training in classical music is necessary to become a good musician. Accessibility also plays a role, but I feel it is more to do with interest. People are not too keen to learn classical music anymore.
Are reality shows just a platform to get recognition or do they help launch one’s career?
When you are in a show, you get to sing a lot of songs, and people know who you are. The question is what artists do after the show because the challenge starts when the person is in the real world. We have seen both — people from reality shows who have made it big in the Hindi film industry and those who have not.
Do reels, Tik Tok and other social media hinder the growth of music?
Social media has taken over everything. On one hand, social media helps reach more people, on the other, it has made a musician out of everybody and that is a little disturbing. The idea of somebody becoming a musician in 30 seconds is frightening.
‘Damaru’ can be viewed here.