This Bengaluru drummer has played at a private show exclusively for Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh

From private performances for Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh to creating the background score for KGF, this young percussionist has taken the industry by storm
Rahul Shivakumar
Rahul Shivakumar

If you’ve grooved to the backg round score of KGF, then you’ l l sure want to know about the person who created the magic. It’s percussionist Rahul Shivakumar, a 26-year old Bengaluru boy. And over the weekend, the self-taught artiste performed at Global Malls for the Holi flea market celebration which is on till March 31.

“It was absolutely amazing to have a crowd to perform to since the pandemic didn’t really allow it to happen. While I did private shows, there was just a select audience for this,” he says.

Shivakumar is a world and folk-multi percussionist, drummer and solo performer, who can play over 45 instruments. Having done over 1,500 shows so far, he’s played the background score in around 50 Kannada movies, including the muchtalked- about KGF: Chapter 1. However, his claim to fame is him being the music com-poser of the blockbuster film Act 1978, directed by Nationa l Award winner Mansore.

“It all started when I was in Class 5 and wanted to join my school band. We weren’t allowed to join until we were in Class 8. But I would go to school an hour early every day just to watch them. Slowly, the master took notice of me and started giving me a chance to play when one of the students was absent,” he recalls.

He grew his love for music throughout school and continued on from there, watching YouTube videos. “I really do have to thank a few people for getting me to where I am. I’m trained under the guidance of Pramath Kiran for Latin percussion and Vinod Shyam Anoor for Carnatic Konakkol. I still continue to learn and I’m glad that I can showcase them in the many works that I have done,” he adds.

Shivakumar has worked with music composers like Ravi Basrur, Arjun Janya, Poornachandra Tejaswi, Sridhar Sambhram and Ronada Bakkesh, to name a few. He can play with anything from exotic darbuka to kitchen utensils like kadai and frying pans.

“Going to Mumbai after my Bachelor of Computer Application was a stepping stone. I got to learn more about the percussion instruments, things that weren’t normally used in Bengaluru, and I can proudly say that I still use them in my work today,” says Shivakumar, adding that the instruments he plays with are darbuka, djembe, Cajon, timbale, duff and folk tapes, to n ame a few.

“I’ve done private shows for Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Dutt with DJ Jasmeet. It was absolutely wonderful to see Deepika and Ranveer dancing to my beats,” he says with a laugh.

One of his latest projects includes the song Mahanubhaavu Neenayya, a tribute to late actor Puneeth Rajkumar. “The song is out on YouTube and it’s sung by Kailash Kher, Vijay Prakash, Sonu Nigam and Shankar Mahadevan. I worked on the live rhythm and Taikos for the song and it’s doing really well on social media platforms,” he explains.

Apart from playing music, Shivakumar mentions his upcoming movie role. “I’m part of the new movie called Raymo, directed by Pavan Wadeyar. Details about it will be out soon,” he says, adding that he’s looking forward to seeing what else the future holds for him.

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