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Maati Baani: Serial Collaborators

The Mumbai world music duo on why teaming up with different artists leads to “unimaginable” results; to perform in Mumbai tonight

Rolling Stone India Aug 05, 2016
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Nirali Kartik and Kartik Shah of Maati Baani. Photo: Chetna Vaidyanathan

There might be many artists today ”˜fusing’ Indian folk and classical music with pop and rock but Maati Baani have been able to make their own unique mark in the scene. Comprising vocalist Nirali Kartik and guitarist/producer Kartik Shah, the Mumbai duo’s efforts in marrying divergent genres have been expansive ”“ one of their earliest songs “Tore Matware Naine,” a folk tune from UP, featured the French jazz/funk singer Joy Shanti and a flautist/flute seller they stumbled across on the streets. Another one of their compositions “Mitwa” is a classical bandish with a gritty funk/lounge groove.

Maati Baani are now set to release a new track as part of the Music Yantra series, a project they embarked on earlier this year, bringing on board several lesser-known artistes from around the globe. The series is a compilation of six fusion tracks, each of which has been documented as an episode on YouTube. Says Nirali, “Kartik and I tend to get bored very easily with the same kind of music. That is why we collaborate with musicians a lot.”

Watch “Jao Piya,” one of the tracks from the Music Yantra series:

True to their collaborative roots, Maati Baani have brought on board Saudi Arabian a cappella artist Alaa Wardi on their upcoming song. “It is a folk track mixed with electro,” shares Nirali. The song also features Australian musician and instrument maker Linsey Pollak, known to make clarinets out of carrots. “Linsey is going to play carrots and a few other vegetables,” says Nirali.

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Four years into the independent music circuit, Maati Baani believe their strength lies in teaming up with others artists and creating exciting work together. “What we love about our collaborations is that there is a beautiful exchange of melodies,” says Nirali. “The moment a collaborator from a different country or genre adds his element, the result is unimaginable.” Their gig tonight at Blue Frog, Mumbai will also feature a host of musicians, from Kutch folk singer Mooralala Marwada (who featured on their 2012 track “Banjara”), long-standing collaborators, singer Ankita Joshi and flautist Noor Mohammed Sodha (both of who you might have heard on “Boondan Boondan”), among others.


Maati Baani will perform tonight at Blue Frog Mumbai, 9pm onwards.

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