Stringing it together

Published: Dec 10, 2019, 07:00 IST | Prachi Sibal | Mumbai

Indian Ocean guitarist Nikhil Rao's YouTube show has something for both, musicians and fans

For a band in it's 30th year, there's a lot of reinventing to do. And for one that's quite known for its humility, there are no qualms about some of it coming from a younger generation. It's also how Indian Ocean guitarist Nikhil Rao decides to introduce his four-episode-old, weekly YouTube show, Guitar Hang. "Our songs are long and nobody buys music anymore. So, there had to be other ways of making our digital presence interesting," he says.

Rao's way with strings has ensured he has a fan following of his own with emails and DMs inquiring about his technique and method. "I also get asked if I take classes, something I can't manage with my band commitments," he says. Guitar Hang, launched on November 22 two months after conception, was an answer to both, in the form of a bite-sized and approachable show.

Each episode is five minutes long and focuses on a single song. For now, Rao's own at Indian Ocean. He breaks the 'guitar playing' down, from inspirations to technique and all the way to band anecdotes from the time it was recorded. Future episodes will have Rao do the same for new releases and former band member Sushmit Sen's compositions.

Rao talks directly to the camera, cracks jokes (some lame ones, too) and tries to maintain a balance, for both musicians and fans. "That's what took the most amount of work," he says talking about the possibility of a show for musicians in the future. He switches with ease, from Carnatic ragas to metal, peppered with musical trivia.

The show itself is conversational and interspersed with demos of everything he discusses. He asks for feedback and questions in earnest. And this is what Guitar Hang has going for itself, besides Rao's known deftness with the instrument.

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