Narayana Guru had famously said once that Whites had granted him the Deeksha.
Likewise my initiation into a recording studio had been arranged by a white man.
I had always dreamt of recording something of my own. I imagined being at the console creating magic with music. But I knew it was just a dream. Film industry was beyond the reach and non-filmy low budget albums were rare those days.
a song from forthcoming album (mentioned in last post)
In 1990s scene had started to change. Digital studios were coming up in cities and A R Rahman had arrived. Inter net and cable TV had opened up a new world and I was very excited. But nothing happened. The life in Music College had become unbearable. The upper caste teachers believed that we were there only because of `reservation’. Dalit teachers were harsher for they had to prove they were ‘proper gurus’. And then one day Karsten Shroer entered the frame.
Karsten was from South Carolina, USA. He had a little sampler with him. I fell in love with it at the very first sight. He excitedly described to me the contemporary trends in the US music world and we decided to do an album together. So one fine day in 1995 I stepped into a studio; Santa Cicely in Kochi. We recorded five songs. All were love songs. Not at all surprising since I was 24 then. Later Karsten mixed the music he had made with his computer. One song was added in the album Head Massage by Karsten’s band ‘The Soul Flip’, later brought out by BGM from Singapore.
Even though my Music College was a mixed educational institution there were separate blocks for girls and boys. It was believed that they cannot be taught together because male and female voices were considered as extremely different with incompatible pitches. (This myth has been demolished by popular music, especially film songs) Karstern mixed our song “memories fall like rain” in such a way that female and male voices were fused together as if it were a single voice; totally different from the conventional duet. The lyrics too didn’t address a particular gender. I decided to engage with different strands of music without any sense of shame or wrong and I walked out of that hell called Music College.