Funk central

Rock fusion band Sitar Funk, led by sitar player Niladri Kumar look set to rev up proceedings at NCPA tonight. Along with a guest appearance by Taufiq Qureshi, it's set to open your mind to a potpourri of sounds ranging from Classical Indian to Jazz and Rock

Indian music band Sitar Funk has its origins in a 1999 UK tour; sitar player Niladri Kumar was a part of this tour. "It was an initiative to promote Indian Classical music in the clubs of UK, which were till then the domain of DJs. We innovated with Indian instruments such as the Tabla and the Sitar to create a global sound," says Kumar.

Taufiq Qureshi will perform on the Tabal Djembe

The event was a success and it inspired Kumar to start Sitar Funk seven years ago. Sitar Funk is now set to perform at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) and will comprise of Niladri Kumar (Sitar and Zitar), Satyajit Talwalkar (Tabla), Gino Banks (Drums), Sheldon D'Silva (Bass) and Angelo Fernandes (Keyboards).
There will also be a guest appearance by Taufiq Qureshi (Djembe) for this edition of Sitar Funk. Kumar and the other musicians admit that since they have performed in various venues over the years, ranging from college festivals to small corporate gatherings, they can perform with minimal rehearsals.
"Different sets of musicians have been part of Sitar Funk but the genre we play is versatile and adaptable to our audiences," he adds. Kumar is full of praise for his fellow musicians whom he describes as "a talented bunch who can appeal to the younger generation with their sounds".

Taufiq Qureshi will perform on the Tabal Djembe

The journey has been stressful over the years, admits Kumar. "When Sitar Funk was conceptualised, there was no precedent for this genre of music. We had to do our own research as well as manage issues such as sourcing costly gear.
At the same time, there were a lot of detractors who criticised the venture. It didn't help that we played fusion music which people think is light or trivial as compared to classical music," he reminisces.

Taufiq Qureshi is excited to collaborate with Sitar Funk. "Niladri and I go a long way back and have a personal equation beyond concerts and performances. I will be performing an African instrument, the Djembe. I have termed as a Tabal Djembe as I will be performing a tabla repertoire on the Djembe.

There is a need to create awareness about this instrument; the techniques applied on the Tabla need not be restricted to the Tabla," says Qureshi.

Drummer Gino Banks has been performing with Sitar Funk for six years and admits that their sound is not easy to describe. "It's beyond genres; we are a beautifully loud fusion group," he laughs. He adds that they have had a few sound check sessions but the magic will take place on the stage.

On February 1, 7 pm; at Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point; call 22833838; cost Rs 375, Rs 225, Rs 120 (members), Rs 500, Rs 300, Rs 160 (public)

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