When Heart Met Soul: IndiEarth At The Park
Music from the heart, and music with soul – Runa Rizvi and DJ Astro Black – two diverse artists with two drastically different forms of expression, united by passion and love of the music they perform. Last Saturday’s edition of IndiEarth At The Park saw these two artists taking to the stage and putting their hearts into their performances, making for a thoroughly enjoyable evening for Chennai audiences.
“Since my last experience at the IndiEarth XChange I got a taste of the audience that comes to hear an IndiEarth or EarthSync gig,” begins Runa. “There is a very niche, intellectual and accepting audience with a broad perception of music. This kind of acceptance and understanding – it’s like the food for the soul of an artist. I remember asking the organizers before the show ‘What do you guys want me to sing?‘ and the reply was ‘Sing what you don’t sing commercially, sing what you really love to sing!‘ So I put my whole heart into what I sang and really got to enjoy myself on stage. Until I don’t enjoy myself on stage, I know my audience can’t enjoy themselves either.”
Runa’s unique musical background brings together a seamless blend of classical Bengali, Rajasthani and Sufi influences. Her performance showcased her graceful ghazal renditions, several Sufi compositions, as well as some rather unique interpretations and arrangements – including the ghazal Sagar Jaisi Lehron performed in a rhythmic reggae style. “My compositions are very raga based because of the training I have,” she told IndiEarth, “but light music has the liberty to go everywhere, to fly anywhere – just like jazz. I’m also working on an individual project with my father (Rajkumar Rizvi)’s compositions, my sister’s and my own, where I’ll be both singer and producer.” Runa also sings as part of the band New Life with bandmates Sivamani on percussion and keyboardist Stephen Devassy. “We’re currently working on an album called Tu Hi Tu, which means It’s Only You,” she revealed.
Burning up the dance floor that very same evening was LA born, Australia based DJ Astro Black. “My dad had a huge vinyl collection that later became mine,” he reminisces about his first contact with the world of music. “I would sit for hours listening to his music and reading the covers, linear notes and all. I did that rather than hang out with friends. I’m still like that today. My dad and uncles would have a get together every weekend and in order for me to hangout, I was given the job of playing music while they played cards into the wee hours. I guess that’s where and when I decided what path I would take – and I’ve stuck to it”.
Astro Black’s set at The Leather Bar brought together his varied influences of funk, nu disco and house music. “I tend to like lots of bass heavy electronica with a lot of funk influence – whether it’s in the vocal lines or funk riffs,” he told IndiEarth. “The Aussie electronica scene is exploding at the moment! I think because Australia is so far from everywhere else, the artists are forced to develop their own sound rather than emulate what’s already out there. You have guys like Tommy Trash who is years ahead musically than his age, TyDi is another brilliant artist who is doing great stuff – and Cosmos Midnight are a dope act too. I’m honored and lucky to be a part of this landscape”.
His night in Chennai saw a crowded dance floor and an audience loving the sounds he was doling out. “I love being a part of the IndiEarth movement — full stop,” he said after the high energy show. “I know if they are involved, that the integrity to deliver a high quality event is there. The crowd was amazing – very receptive and keen to party. I hope they had an amazing time like I did!”
The next edition of IndiEarth At The Park is coming up in August – line up to be announced shortly, so watch this space!
In the meantime, check out all the photos from the night here.