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Five Minutes with...Kaviraj Singh

We caught up with santoor player and vocalist Kaviraj Singh ahead of his appearance here at Sage Gateshead during New Year New Artists Festival on 19 January.

What can people expect from your show?
People can expect to hear my instrument, the Santoor, and voice in a new light. I will be exploring new tones and timbres, musical styles and techniques. Maintaining elements of Indian music and stepping out of the norm to create new music. I will also be joined by one of the finest and very musical Tabla players of the UK, Bhupinder Chaggar.

Who are your biggest musical influences?
My biggest musical influences have been my gurus (teachers and mentors), who have steered the way for me on my musical journey. Ustad Harjinderpal Singh and also his teacher, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, have been my main inspirations for Santoor along with Pt Ajoy Chakraborty, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and many more for vocals. I’ve also grown up listening to the likes of Nitin Sawhney and Talvin Singh, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of performing with. For my new music, I have been listening to a lot of piano instrumentals, very minimalistic yet thoughtful in melody.

Who is your favourite new musician?
Not a new musician but new to me is Indian classical vocalist, Manjusha Patil Kulkarni. She has a very smooth and silky yet powerful and emotive voice which moves fluidly through the notes she sings.

What does performing at Sage Gateshead mean to you?
Performing at Sage Gateshead is special for me because not only is it one of the flagship venues in the UK for high quality music from all genres but the performance marks a new start for me as I launch the next phase of my career. It was also one of the first places I saw Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, my teacher’s teacher, perform live.

What’s coming up next for you?
What’s next? Recording and touring of my new work ‘Between the Lines’ which explores the Santoor and music for me in new ways. I will also be travelling to India to further develop my music and to experiment with new collaborations.

See the full New Year New Artists line-up