The seventh day of the Kala Ghoda Art Festival saw a cheering crowd as the beats of Sanjay Maroo, a self-taught drummer filled the air around the Cross Maidan to his drum beats.
Maroo and his band - Blue Fire (Harikumar Sivan on violin, D Wood on bass, Bol Shoy on keyboard and Maroo on drums) performed five songs – Rising, Blossom, Rainbow (from the album London Eye), Colours and Breath-taker, which were a confluence of Karnatik classical and progressive Jazz rock.
"The songs are Harikumar's compositions. Karnatik classical music, which is based on raags is advanced, high and not many people may understand it. Through our performance, we want to make it more accessible and enjoyable for the people so that they may feel the richness of Indian traditions," said Maroo.
Maroo has been in the music industry for 28 years, but this is the first time he has played at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival. "You rarely get a chance to play in the open especially in Mumbai. Playing at Kala Ghoda, was lovely and I believe that the audience could connect with the music and knew what was happening," he said.
While some may have found this confluence of Karnatik classical and progressive Jazz rock just 'noise', but for Yohaan Shah, a 21-year-old student from St Xavier's College, "the music was soothing and relaxing. The melody supported the fusion of Indian and Western instruments," he said.
Maroo, who holds the Limca Record for the Fastest Foot Drumming at 11.08 beats per minute was once a member of the legendary bands Les Boys and Rock Machine. He began drumming when he was 15.
"I had a passion for drumming since I was a child. I would sit in front of the mirror with drumsticks, drum in the air and psyche myself into believing there was a real drum," he said.
With no formal training, Saroo plays by ear and has picked up all he knows watching other drummers and some old VCRs tapes. "Jazz Ratra, was one of my biggest inspirations," he admitted.