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ShriLektric Returns to India

British Asian multi-instrumentalist artist and producer, Shri will be performing in Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Pune

Sharin Bhatti May 23, 2012
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Last year, Mumbai was introduced to UK-based multi-instrumentalist Shrikant Sriram’s jazzectronica collaborative act ShriLektric at Blue Frog, Mumbai where he took the stage with vocalist Nandini Sirkar and Mridangam player Vivek Rajagopalan. Shri blends Indian classical, electronica, rock and jazz layered with loops and samples in his new project ShriLektric that took shape in a year’s time. Now, ShriLektric begins a four-city tour of Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Pune this week. This time, Shri will be performing alongside vocalist Gayatri Iyer-Ganjawala and violinist Finix Ramdas.

In an interview with ROLLING STONE India earlier, Shri had explained the concept behind his brand of jazzectronica. “The idea is simple. I want to entertain my audience, while creating live music on stage. It’s a completely free beast. We don’t plan a setlist. We rehearse once before the show and just mix sounds live. It took me a while to channelize it, but it’s been worth it,” Shri had said.

Shri spent a good part of 2011 in India to work on ShriLektric and at the same time, he worked on the soundtrack for the award-winning Google Chrome commercial based on the Tanjore painting revival project. “I was a bit hesitant at first to compose for the commercial, but Russell Barrett (creative director at BBH, the agency that created the ad) told me he had been using my music as a reference for the commercial. I used Carnatic music and added samples,” says Shri, who will use the piece of music for his solo album, which is in the pipeline.

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Now based in London, Shri who was born and brought up in Mumbai, had a regular South Indian upbringing. Shri spent his days studying science and afternoons learning tabla and Carnatic violin. With a degree in B.Sc. Chemistry and his mind tuned to the notes of the tabla, nothing would tell Shri apart from his fellow brothers, apart from the fact that Shri had no inclination to pursue science further. Shri first took to music by jamming with good friend Sanjay Diwecha. “Sanjay and I formed a band when he gave me this really crappy bass guitar that he had to play. I loved the sound and instinctively began playing,” recalls Shri.

Taking his love for the bass forward, Shri quickly carved himself a unique bowed bass with a discarded log of wood in this backyard. “I loved the violin and I loved the bass. All I needed was to figure out how to create my own tone,” said Shri, who can slap, pluck and play his bass like a violin with a bow. Shri moved to London in 1999 after several visits where he performed with the likes of Talvin Singh and Nitin Sawhney. He met  British Asian DJ and MC, Badmarsh at one of these gigs. “He was already DJing and MCing around London and had taken up resident duties at Labyrinth. I was producing Nitin’s album Drum the Bass at the same time. We were introduced to each other through a common producer friend, who thought we would work well together.” Soon after Badmarsh & Shri became a popular trip-hop collective playing with two albums Dancing Drums and Signs. The duo is currently working on their third record, which should release sometime this year. “It’s a bit between dubstep, electronica and minimalist,” says Shri.

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The three-decade long career of Shri has spanned experiments in tabla, bass, bowed bass, break beat, drum ”˜n’ bass mixed with Indian classical vocals and jazz. In April 2012, Shri performed with Norwegian jazz pianist Bugge Wesseltoft for a multi-city tour.

ShriLektric will be performing on May 24th at OBA, New Delhi; May 25th at Tease, Hyderabad; May 26th Oxygen, Jaipur and May 27th at High Spirits, Pune. 

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