Mumbai’s music connoisseurs are in for an unique experience of listening to an energetic musical evening ‘RAF’ (Rakesh and Friends), where a young group of musicians led by versatile flautist Rakesh Chaurasia will blend Indian classical music with global music to create a rare musical sound.
Flute legend Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia’s nephew will be joined by Gino Banks (drums), Satyajit Talwalkar (tabla), Sheldon D’Silva (bass guitar) and Sangeet Haldipur (keyboard) in this first-ever collaboration.
While Chaurasia has mastered the flute under his uncle, Gino Banks has been accompanying his father, legendary jazz pianist and composer, Louiz Banks, from the age of nine. Tabla legend Suresh Talwalkar and vocalist Padma Talwalkar’s son Satyajit, too, has been accompanying his parents from an early age. Sangeet Haldipur is the son of violinist and composer Amar Haldipur.
Bass guitarist Sheldon D’Silva, too, has played with maestros like Louiz Banks, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, Rashid Khan, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, U Srinivas, Selva Ganesh, Colonial Cousins and others since a young age.
“We have learnt from our respective gurus and the only way to pay tribute to them would be to take what they have taught us into new realms,” said Gino, who added, “That’s the only way one can test one’s ability and grow.”
Chaurasia, who has made his mark as the finest young flute virtuosos with creative improvisations and balance of strength and serenity echoes Gino. According to him, “In a way, Mumbai’s been a cradle to this entire troupe. This is where we honed our talent and took to the stage. When coming together as a group for an experiment like this, we decided to have the first concert in Mumbai, the city which has always encouraged us and made us feel special.” With his deep understanding of diverse Indian musical gharana styles with world music styles which began at an early age, accompanying his uncle in concerts across Europe, US, Australia and Japan, he should know what he’s saying.
Sheldon D’silva said that the music at the concert will not be rehearsed and played out. “That would get too staccato. We like to react to what we hear and we try to make the process as exciting for us on stage while we make the music as it is for the listeners.”
As if on cue, Satyajit Talwalkar who’s listening in, hits the tabla magically extracting a rhythm, which makes all the artistes break into wah-wahs. “Music is meant to touch the soul of the listener and the driving force is to aspire to maintain a fine harmony between tradition and modernity that is in sync with the sensibilities of a global audience,” says the ever-smiling tabla exponent who has accompanied some of the tallest heavyweights in the world of music both in India and abroad.
(RAF concert at 7.30pm on Oct 25, Wednesday, at Nehru Centre, Worli)