Goa-based Noriko Shakti talks to us about her new EP and erasing artistic borders with her sound
The tabla player's new EP is called Within, The Time and Place
COMPOSER AND PERCUSSIONIST Noriko Shakti was born in Tokyo but moved to India in late 2012 to study Indian classical music. “I first arrived in Kolkata to study at Rabindra Bharati University,” she shares. Now, eight years later, the artiste resides in Goa and showcases her global music sensibilities through her work. Her love for the country and its music saw her learning to play the tabla, which shines through in her latest EP Within, The Time and Place.
“I was a DJ back in Tokyo,” Noriko tells us, adding, “I was into dance music along with drum and bass, hip-hop, reggae and punk. But I also always had a keen interest in instrumental and folkloric music from around the world.” The artiste had learnt to play the piano at a young age, and Indian classical music always fascinated her.
“I feel all music genres are intricately connected to each other. As an artiste, I like to play around with musical concepts and borders. I go with whatever my instinct says,” she tells us. The EP is a confluence of all the genres Noriko dabbles in — jazz, electronic, bass, breakbeats, chill-hop and, of course, Indian classical.
“No matter where we are and what we do, 2020 has been a struggle for everyone. Because of the lockdown, musicians and artistes have lost the spaces where they can perform. To us, all of this feels like war,” she says. With this in mind, she composed the lead track of the EP, CovidWar. “The layered elements of electronic sounds in the track depict a surreal world. And it is a glimpse into the chaos that is 2020,” she adds. This is followed by Those Days, a jazz number about returning to your roots and memories. One of our favourites is the next song called Summer Reminiscing, a zen-like track that is designed to balance out the listener’s emotions. Tensei Taal: Reincarnation is a song that is an homage to Indian and Japanese cultures. “The Japanese word tensei means reincarnation, and taal (rhythm or pattern) is the never-ending cycle of beat,” she adds. The last and title track Within, The Time and Space, is a more philosophical number that talks about God and spirituality. The song was born out of a dance production that the artiste was working on with choreographers Ashley Lobo and Yuko Harada. The title comes from lines from Japanese novel Sagan by Kaori Ekuni.
While Goa has been silent this year with the pandemic bringing its nightlife to a halt, Noriko still feels she is lucky to be living there. “Goa is still a place with so many artistes that I can collaborate with at any time. I’m very glad I’m here,” she signs off.