Musician-entrepreneur Kanika Patawari released her new song, ‘Runak Jhunak’ (Warner Music), recently. Born and raised in Belgium, Kanika has been visiting India since she was a child and feels connected to the country”. She also adds that she feels at home here, Belgium and the States with “You can find me in one of these places.”
She talks to us about her song, music, sustainability and more.
We see traces of Rajasthani culture with a fusion of folk in Runak Jhunak. How did this idea come to you?
As a musician, it is important to be honest about who you are when you create your music. Given that I grew up in a Rajasthani household, I just recreated what I had heard and seen in my childhood. Since my external experiences are Western, my song became a mishmash of Indian with Rajasthani flavours and western music.
Your video features rustic and urban women and children. What does this represent?
I wanted to highlight the idea of freedom and liberation. There are set notions about women, who wear heavy jewellery that is native to Rajasthan, and I wanted to use the same idea in a different light. I wanted to show modern Rajasthani women and say you can wear traditional clothes and still be ambitious and free to do naything you want.
How can we encourage folk in mainstream music?
I commend Warner Music, and their label Maati for promoting folk and regional music. Especially after the pandemic, it has been tough for a lot of folk musicians. We need government support for folk musicians and people to support our culture.
Tell us about your initiative — ‘Music Recycle’…
It is a platform to collaborate between music and sustainability. I realized there is a lack of awareness and information on this and hence, came up with ‘Music Recycle’.
We made music out of sounds from a metal yard with the message ‘one man’s waste is another man’s instrument’, to talk about sustainability and climate change. We did something called ‘Plastic Surgery’, to create an awareness about single-use plastic. We do this by creating experiences so that people are receptive to change.
It is a small team, mostly active in America. We have plans for India too.
How is the situation for women in the music industry? Can it be more inclusive?
There is a difference between the west and India in terms of how the music industry operates. In the west, there is an artiste culture of sorts as opposed to the film-centric music that is made in India. I hope that the idea of artiste culture grows here too.
The gender issue is a worldwide problem. Women are often singers or stage performers, they are rarely in the technology part of it. It is changing, but we still have a long way to go. Music production, music therapy, film scoring, video game music are areas dominated by men. Initially, it was challenging for me to learn technology and produce music. I took time figuring out my sound, and the journey has been amazing so far.
What are your upcoming projects?
There is a lot of music to be shared. I aim to bring ‘Music Recycle’ to India and am constructing a studio in Mumbai to build a community centre to nurture artistes and to create a platform for musical collaborations. It will be a platform to promote and share music.