Ravi Shankar, Rahman amazing musicians: Austrian composer

New Delhi: The talent of Indian music legends like sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and composer A.R. Rahman must be known the world over, says Austrian musician, composer, producer and DJ Parov Stelar, who is set to perform in India for the first time next month.

Known as one of the pioneers of electro swing, Stelar has worked with international artistes like Lana Del Rey, Bryan Ferry and Lady Gaga for different projects. And he finds Rahman and the late Ravi Shankar’s works “amazing”.

Looking forward to his gig at the SulaFest in Nashik, Maharashtra, Stelar — whose real name is Marcus Fureder — admits he doesn’t know much about Indian music, but knows about Rahman and Shankar.

“They are just so big that everybody knows them or at least should know them. Amazing musicians,” Stelar told IANS in an email interview.

Asked if he would like to collaborate with any Indian musicians, Stelar expressed interest in roping in vocalists.

“I always love to collaborate with new artistes, especially with vocalists who have something special that I feel for new songs. It doesn’t matter where they come from or how old they are, it just matters that I feel that they work for a certain track,” said Stelar, who knows a bit about India through his family members who are fans of yoga.

“There are so many positive effects of Indian meditation practices. What also comes to mind is Hinduism, a very fascinating religion. We cannot wait to enjoy some of your specialties. India is such a big country with so many different landscapes and styles, it is hard to imagine. Austria, where we are from, has 5 million people,” the 43-year-old artiste said.

At most music fests in India, international artistes try to add Indian elements to their performances — like DJ Dyro from Netherlands played the track “Kundi mat khadkao raja” in his last set in 2016.

Does Stelar have something special planned for the crowd at Sula Vineyards?

He said: “I think we only have one hour, so we want to make sure that we will play the best possible selection of songs. It’s not always easy and there might be people who would have preferred a different song. However, rest assured, there will be new songs as well as many Parov Stelar classics.”

With a number of genres emerging in the music world, does he get confused?

“I know it’s crazy, but music is diverse and somehow you need to describe a style of music. That’s why it has become what it is. It’s great that so many people are developing new styles of music, that keeps it interesting. Stopping that wouldn’t be good for the world of music,” said Stelar, whose musical style is based on a combination of jazz, house, electro and pop, but he has lately been venturing into other styles and experimenting more.

“I never put myself just into one style of music. I realize that electro swing was the kind of sound which made Parov Stelar famous and I feel honoured and grateful for that. However, over the last 15 years, I produced many albums with various styles – some not even close to Electro Swing,” added Stelar.

Having performed at some of Europe’s biggest music events including Zurich Open Air, Rock Werchter and Glastonbury, he credits “variation” as the key to his production.

“It gives me the freedom I need to work, but this is different for every artist. There is no particular key to success.”