Watch Flautist-Singer Rasika Shekar’s Determined New Video for Tamil Song ‘Yavum’
New York guitarist and producer Shubh Saran produced the track, with the clip showcasing dancers from different walks of life
When Mumbai-based flautist, singer and composer Rasika Shekar created the riff for her new song “Yavum,” her mind conjured images of clouds, a person running freely and joyfully and the idea of “finding freedom.” Although the artist has previously worked with the likes of composer trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for Hindi film work, she was instinctively drawn to making it a Tamil song.
Over the phone from Chennai, Shekar brought on board lyricist R. Lavarathan because she recognized that the track – her first solo project this year to feature vocals – would be best emoted in Tamil. “Everything that came to mind was in Tamil,” she adds. “Yavum” (which loosely translates to “all” or “everything” in Tamil) unearths an epiphany of sorts about solitude, freedoms and breaking down barriers in one’s own mind, invoking nature as well as a mother’s love.
Written over the years, Shekar was already keen to spend 2020 releasing material and the lockdown gave her time to focus those efforts. Following instrumental singles such “Lalitha” and “Departure,” Shekar called on New York-based producer and guitarist Shubh Saran to remotely produce “Yavum,” who ushers in sublime R&B and jazz-fusion grooves. She says about working with Sharan, “I think our music sensibilities sort of just really matched. We really connected over our approaches to music and aesthetic sense… I just connected with his ideas.”
With Lavarathan, Shekar realized that they were on the same page almost instantly. “Immediately after hearing it, before telling him the vision I had for the song, he kind of came up with words that exactly matched the exact visuals I had in my mind. It was uncanny,” she says. Knowing that this was a cinematic visual floating in her mind, Shekar worked with Mumbai filmmaker Uttara Krishnadas (and what turned out to be a nearly all-women crew) to stitch together a music video for “Yavum.” Shekar adds, “A lot of times, you quickly want to go out and shoot visuals and sort of put it together and hope that it comes together. But I really loved how in-depth our conversations were before we even got to the storyboarding.”
The video sees Shekar in different locales in Mumbai, coupled with nine women dancers who also juggle day jobs with their love for artistic expression, across ages and countries. For her part, Shekar also performed a choreographed dance for the first time on camera. “What the song says is exactly what I lived through the making of the video as well,” she adds, referring to overcoming apprehensions of dancing for a video, which was aided by choreographer Pooja Radhakrishnan.