CHENNAI: My only agenda in life is to find exciting things and not do something that’s not inspiring,” says Darbuka Siva, the city based musician-cum-actor who recently addressed a gathering at the US consulate. Widely appreciated for his music in the 2016 movie Kidaari, Siva who has several feathers in his cap, talks to us about his experience on being a part of the ‘One beat exchange program’ and the dosti music project.
After working on a travelogue show in 2012, Siva wanted to take it slow and thus followed a self-imposed sabbatical. But in 2013, the unexpected happened when Siva was selected as an artist-in-residence for OneBeat — a US State department project produced by Found Sound Nation. Siva was one of the 25 musicians selected from all over the world for the music residency programme in Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida. “Listening to the stories and music of other musicians opened me up and I was overloaded with information..but I loved it!”he exclaims.
An east coast tour of the US was followed by a grand finale in Brooklyn. “We used to jam in mobile studios in parks and the experience changed my view on the I connect with music,” he narrates.
After returning from OneBeat, Siva discussed with his fellow musicians about a possible collaboration in India. And, in 2016, he was invited to be a facilitator for ‘The Dosti Music Project’, which brings together a group of musicians from Pakistan, India, and the US for a month-long residency and tour.
“Though OneBeat and Dosti might seem similar, both were totally different for me. There were different influences, but I also found so many similarities between Indian and Pakistani music,” he shares.
Recalling an incident during the residency, he shares, “We wanted to shoot a music video in a club and incidentally, there was a huge biker festival happening in Florida. So, when we performed in the club, bikers who were initially thrown off guard, gradually got hooked to our music! It proved that music changes people — it becomes a passport to new things.”
But looking back at where he started — in 1999, playing drums on his own and going on to starting ‘Yodhakaa’ — a contemporary Indian classical music group and spearheading a collaborative folk music project called ‘La Pongal’, he says it was all unplanned. “I take life as it comes and I am ready to jump into anything that excites me. That’s one reason I have so many interests — be it music, RJing, or even football!” he says.
Siva is working on independent collaborations and putting together various artistic expressions like dance, sounds and sights. “I collaborate with artists and come up with ‘abstract pieces’. I am also working in a few movies,” he adds.