Maati Baani

Maati Baani's Kartik Shah and Nirali Kartik

If you think you know what Indian fusion music is, think again. Mumbai-based fusion band Maati Baani shows you how Hindustani classical vocals can be fused with any kind of sound under the sun and still sound cool. Maati Baani’s music effortlessly combines elements of rustic folk, Sufi and various different genres of world music with Hindustani classical, funk and new age sounds.

VERUS FERREIRA caught up with music producer/composer Kartik Shah (guitars) and his wife Nirali Kartik (vocals) to understand how they collaborate to make music with unique musicians across the globe while still retaining their Indian core.

Tell us something about your musical background.
Kartik: In my family, I am the odd man out who chose music as a profession. To pursue music, I shifted to Mumbai where I assisted Pritam for some movies. I moved to compose for television ads where I used to do jingles for a very long time and then I met Abhimanyu Singh, CEO of Contiloe Pictures Pvt. Ltd. and slowly started doing television shows. My motive was to collaborate with different musicians across the globe. Later I got married to Nirali and we mixed our styles and made music together which led to our popular project Maati Baani.

Nirali: I am a trained Hindustani classical vocalist. Kartik is not much into this, but is more into western music like blues, rock and roll. We mixed our styles together and came up with Maati Baani. The idea behind it was to put Indian classical music within the different sounds, cultures, languages and voices of the world. Maati Baani is a place where both our different musical backgrounds merge.

What does Maati Baani mean?
Kartik: It means the language of Earth, mitti ki bhasha. Very simple.

Who is your inspiration in music and why?
Kartik: My real inspiration is street musicians. When I travelled I witnessed many street musicians across the globe that were phenomenal and had the purest form of music. My eternal inspiration is three legends, Michael Jackson, A.R. Rahman and Jagjit Singh. I also like Ed Sheeran; they are the people who did what they wanted in their life. And, Abhimanyu Singh for his unique concept for television shows.

Nirali: I am inspired by the classical maestros from Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi to Kishori Amonkar. My guru Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar is a huge inspiration for me.

Maati Baani's Kartik Shah and Nirali Kartik

How has the internet helped you to connect with musicians across the globe?
Kartik: Nirali and I spend our time scouting musicians on the internet. We approach them and make music with them completely online. So it’s due to the internet that we can connect with artistes across the globe, work with them remotely and co-create music. Basically it’s a huge internet collaboration that’s happening, where I’m using the energies from different countries, different musicians across the world to create one common soundtrack. I believe music is one big project; not just to sit in a room and do your song and release it for the audience.

Kartik: Nirali and I spend our time scouting musicians on the internet. We approach them and make music with them completely online. So it’s due to the internet that we can connect with artistes across the globe, work with them remotely and co-create music. Basically it’s a huge internet collaboration that’s happening, where I’m using the energies from different countries, different musicians across the world to create one common soundtrack. I believe music is one big project; not just to sit in a room and do your song and release it for the audience.

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Verus Ferreira

Verus Ferreira

Journalist at Music Unplugged
Verus Ferreira covers the hottest desi and international artists for THE TEENAGER TODAY. Passionate about music, he is the author of The Great Music Quiz Book and The Great Rock Music Quiz Book. A freelance journalist for over 25 years, he also contributes to the Afternoon DC and Musicunplugged.in
Verus Ferreira

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Verus Ferreira

Verus Ferreira covers the hottest desi and international artists for THE TEENAGER TODAY. Passionate about music, he is the author of The Great Music Quiz Book and The Great Rock Music Quiz Book. A freelance journalist for over 25 years, he also contributes to the Afternoon DC and Musicunplugged.in