Super dad & phonic gal: Ranjit and Mallika Barot's new father-daughter ensemble, Superphonic
Ranjit Barot, now aged 69 (you’d never realise), has been a prominent figure in the scene since as far back as one can remember — a fixture on drums and percussion, since the days of Louis Banks’ Sangam in the early-1980s.
The son of the late Kathak dancer, Sitara Devi, Barot was already touring at international festivals in his late teen years.
Cut to the present day, and Barot is also a noted composer and music director, often associated with AR Rahman and John McLaughlin.
The big news, however, is that he’s now playing with his daughter, Mallika Barot.
Indulge caught up with Barot to chat about his new outfit, Superphonic, and his other upcoming projects.
How special is it to bond with Mallika, in the band Superphonic?
My daughter and I are friends first, I think that’s safe to say. The fact that we get to perform together is a blessing.
You create the music and Mallika provides the vocals — how is the rhythm between you two?
We have a lot of similar tastes in music, food and life. It’s not difficult to collaborate and make music. There is a lot of music that she exposes me to, and I in turn, expose her to a lot of music from the past — music that is the foundation of modern music.
We just went together to a concert with the ’80s bands The Pretenders, and the amazing Fleetwood Mac yesterday — and she was as moved as me.
How was your recent performance at the Palm Expo, along with Mallika?
It was very enjoyable, and we played to a very appreciative audience. We tried out some new material, and the response was fantastic.
Tell us a little about your other new projects...
We have some songs in the pipeline, and we are looking at a Superphonic release, slated for later this year. I also have a band with the bassist extraordinaire Etienne Mbappe from Paris.
It’s entitled UnCommon, and features an amazing French multi-instrumentalist, Christophe Craverro, on keyboards and violin.
Over the years, your music has evolved greatly... What according to you, as an artiste, must one keep in mind while curating music?
Stay tuned into what’s going on around you. Stay connected with the youth, because they are driving the future.
And last, but not least, enjoy this process of the eternal search — of working hard to find those notes that haven’t been played or sung yet.
You’ve performed with so many music icons nationally and internationally. Who has been your personal favourite?
It’s hard for me to give ratings to my collaborations. Each comes with its own challenges and joys. I consider myself blessed to be a part of all the ensembles that have given me a home.
But I have to say, my very privileged roles as Musical Director for AR Rahman Live, and as a
drummer/vocalist for John McLaughlin are the gigs where I am not limited by any parameters, and have full scope to vent my deepest musical aspirations, both as a composer/producer and as a student of drums.
And, what are your future plans with Superphonic?
We have an album slated to release later this year, accompanied by music videos. Eventually, Superphonic will hopefully collaborate with international musicians and singers. Fingers crossed!
— Jaideep Sen