“That girl with the loop station” is one of the ways to describe singer-songwriter Vasuda Sharma. She sings over a musical score that she creates on the spot, using her loop station to layer cyclical sequences of guitar riffs and beatboxing rhythms. Prior to these performances, another way of describing her was that girl from Channel V Popstars band Asma or the girl who composed the music for the 2010 film Shah Rukh Bola Khoobsurat Hai Tu. This fortnight, she will have a new descriptor: that girl who studied at Berklee College of Music for a year and has returned with a potential album release coming up in September.
Fresh out of Berklee, Sharma comes with a world tour’s worth of exposure to music. As part of her course on contemporary writing and production, she learned about Arabic notes, the flamenco style of singing, joined a Middle Eastern vocal ensemble, a Balkan music choir and studied jazz theory. “I picked up the ukulele, so the sounds [in my music] have changed a bit,” said Sharma. “I’m accommodating some new percussion sounds too.” At her Bonobo gig, Sharma will be accompanied by Partho Dasgupta on the guitar, Aditya Pushkarna on the djembe, her trusty loop station and fellow Berklee student Layth Sidiq on the violin.
Other Berklee students comprise Sharma’s band called Attuned Spirits who will feature on the upcoming album. “Layth is from Jordan, the drummer is from Canada, the bassist is from Croatia, the pianist is from Korea, guitar player from Norway, mandolin player from Virginia... I never thought I would meet so many people,” said Sharma. A video of Attuned Spirits putting together their first single “Jaagi Jaagi Raina” is on her YouTube channel rockdariteway. Sharma wrote down all the music for the musicians. “The songs are a blend of Indian classical, folk, and Western contemporary,” said Sharma. “Some of the songs are English, some are in Hindi, there’s a little bit of soul, pop, jazz and funk... Maybe you can call it world music but you can’t really generalise it.”
Sharma is taking the less general route to popularity. Two of her contemporaries are as active as she is on the live music scene but are trending towards Bollywood. Anushka Manchanda, one of the four girls that formed the first Channel V Popstars band Viva, is the lead singer of the electro-pop band Shkabang and has appeared on several Bollywood soundtracks. Sangeet Haldipur, one of the members of Asma, often performs live at ensemble gigs and has also been singer and music director on a few Bollywood projects. Among this crowd, Sharma’s indie streak may just help her stand out.
By Aditya Kundalkar on August 03 2012 4.19am