Creating a collaborative project, Loosen, during the pandemic. 4 artists, from Barkingside via Bangalore ( Anoohya, Carnatic vocalist & Bharatanatyam dancer), Croydon via Bangalore (Prathap Ramachandra, Carnatic percussionist w Samagama), South Norwood via Western Canada (myself, Devaki Thomas, former festival producer, Odissi dancer, drummer/vocalist w Stunflower) & South Norwood via Western Canada via Trinidad (Thomas Thomas, singer-songwriter, guitarist, music producer w Stunflower).
The project was offered to Anoohya by Priti Paintal, the director of ShivaNova, Diversity Arts Network & Equator Festival Music who in turn invited myself and others to collaborate. As with most endeavors in the pandemic there were many challenges but the rewards were worth the effort.
2 months behind the scenes work with Anoohya and myself producing/planning, weeks of songwriting by Thomas & myself, percussion input by Prathap led to a day of experimentation at Growroom Studio in South Norwood, with Thomas producing/playing guitars/mixing, Anoohya in lead vocals, myself, Devaki in lead vocals, bass/drums & Prathap adding ideas, Mridangam/Kanjira/Konakol. We ended up with an 8 minute sample of a song called Loosen with elements of EDM, reggae, folk & Carnatic music. Thomas finished producing, mixing & mastering the song in time for the premiere on 16 May.
I created the choreography using Odissi dance, Anoohya shared movements & ideas in Bharatanatyam and we both danced together for the video.
After much re-scheduling thanks to London weather we had a full day film shoot at Wandle Park in Croydon. (the public seemed to enjoy the process too!) Playhouse Pictures directed, filmed and edited the live music/dance video piece. Full video below....we hope you enjoy...please leave a comment and like if you like it :)
Presented by the High Commission of India's cultural wing in Mayfair, London, The Nehru Centre, Step Drum Rhythm was originally conceptualized by myself and my Odissi dance teacher Urbi Basu for the Alchemy Festival, Southbank Centre in 2016. For this project I worked with young Odissi dancer Shreyna Patnaik to choreograph an Abhinaya, or story-telling piece called Mahisashura Mardini Strotram as well as a fusion piece bringing the rhythms of the Cajon together with the steppings of Odissi Dance. Playhouse Pictures filmed and will be editing the final project to be presented virtually through the Nehru Centre's website and social media platforms in early June 2021.