Ranjit Barot is a Mumbai based Indian cinema music composer, music director, music arranger, drummer, and singer. He has a long legacy of composition and music production, and operates a state-of-the-art studio in Mumbai. A distinct perspective on the Indian film genre was provided by his deep roots in the Indian classical heritage and his worldview of music. Ranjit has worked on nearly four decades’ worth of projects as a featured drummer and arranger for Indian Film Industry legends like R.D. Burman, Lakshmikant- Pyarelal, and all the way up to A.R. Rahman, including the Grammy and Oscar-nominated “127 Hours,” and he continues to bring his distinct personality to this genre of music.
He has a longstanding record of working with A. R. Rahman. ARR’s live performances have a profound impact on all of his fans, as any ardent admirer will attest to; Ranjit Barot, the composer of all of these exceptional live performances, deserves to be given credit for them. He currently plays drums with John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, and to cap up his credentials, the legendary guitarist John McLaughlin called him “one of the leading edges in drumming.”
Currently, Barot is gearing up to travel back to Mumbai with his most recent project, Contraband, for a jazz musical performance that combines his work and learning. Read on as he talks candidly about his extensive and brilliant career, which has seen him work with many notable figures in the music industry, including Kalyanji-Anandji, Louis Banks, McLaughlin and AR Rahman.
Excerpts from the interview:
How would you define your extensive career as a drummer, vocalist, music director, and composer of film scores? Which role do you most relish playing?
I enjoy all these aspects of music that live within me. If anything, I’m partial to performing live for audiences. Being on a stage with that kind of interaction is another high.
You began your career as a drummer in the 1980s and performed with well-known artists including Zakir Hussain, Lakmikant-Pyarelal, and RD Burman. Tell us about your experiences. With whom did you discover that you were so intimidated and frightened to function?
I’ve enjoyed and been informed at every stage of my musical journey. I’ve taken something away from all my collaborations. I’d have to say that I’ve had fruitful relationships with all. I’ve never been in a project where the maximum wasn’t demanded of me and I didn’t deliver the maximum.
What led to the collaboration with John McLaughlin? What came to mind first, and how is it going now?
I met John Mclaughlin at the barsi Ustad Zakir Hussain holds every February the 3rd in honour of his late father Ustad Allarakha. We got to jam on stage one night and he took notice of me, invited me to play on his album The Floating Point and the rest is history. I’ve been with him for 12 years now and it’s been a life changing experience.
You have absolutely rocked any musician’s hope of collaborating with the ARR. Which aspect of the legendary has most impressed you? A favourite record and concert memory.
He’s a friend, first and foremost. We met way back when we were both doing music for advertising. He’s dedicated his life to music and I resonate with him on this commitment to all things musical and to life. My favourite memory is from our recent tour of the US. We played the Hollywood Bowl in LA. A 17,000 seated amphitheatre and it was pretty much sold out. What really blew my mind was that at least 40% of the audience was local Americans and not Indians. His music has crossed over and broken cultural barriers.
What do you do to ensure that the music you have been producing for decades retains its allure and appeals to the younger generation today?
I think if you lose touch with the youth you lose touch with yourself on some level. My daughter Mallika keeps me informed of the music that young people are listening to. Fortunately, she has very good taste in music being a fantastic singer herself.
What are your goals and plans for 2023? Do you have a particular musician in mind who you are very excited to collaborate with?
There are live shows with AR Rahman plus an autumn tour with John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension. There’s a couple of things brewing at other local venues where I’ll be featuring Contraband in a more interactive setting. I’ve got some recording projects for films. So, all in all, a pretty busy year that I’m looking forward to.
You will be performing at AntiSOCIAL, a venue that is mostly buzzed with generation Z. What is the feeling and your expectation?
It’s a brave venue. They have no boundaries really on the music they feature. It’s a place where you can listen to any genre and they provide a platform to both the upcoming and established artist. I’m going to be playing much more locally and nationally. I want to reacquaint myself with our audiences and keep my dialogue going with upcoming young musicians in our community.
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Originally published at www.news18.com