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Suman Sridhar is referred to as a vocal gymnast for no ordinary reasons. The Mumbai-based singer-songwriter (also an actor) has managed to hit the right notes in the indie music space, Bollywood and even the folk scene. Sridhar, who is always looking out for opportunities to redefine music, this time brings a mixed set of artistes together. This Friday, she comes to town with her new collaboration, The Black Mamba Tour, which will also feature songs from her upcoming solo album. Drummer Lindsay D’Mello, percussionist Anand Bhagat, keyboardist Karan Joseph and bassist Anjo John will play with Sridhar and her band, The Oracle. We spoke to the vocalist
and composer to find out about the collaborations, what to expect
at the gig, and details on her upcoming album.

What brought you all together?
I have played with all of them at different points of time. Lindsay and I were part of The Window Seat project, and have collaborated in the past on each other’s albums. Anjo has played a few gigs with Sridhar/Thayil (my collaboration with guitarist-poet-novelist Thayil). Anand Bhagat featured on our Evening in Gay Maharashtra video. Then I have done a few gigs with Karan. This tour has been an organic coming together of various personalities and talents.

What can we expect from the gig?
Before Sleep, Sweet Kiss, Drink A Toast to Never, Rail Gaadi — these are some of the new signature tracks of The Oracle. The gig, over all, references hip-hop, trip-hop, afrobeat and neo-soul.

What has been each one’s take away from this collaboration?
It has indeed been a beautiful thing to get to know each other and create the right vibe where one can jam and communicate with each other. Music is a universal non-verbal language, and being able to play together necessarily opens one’s energies towards each other. This has been the most satisfying experience, thus far.

What are rehearsals like?
We meet and rehearse in Bombay. There is a delicate balance of rehearsal that we require— too much can kill the spontaneity.

What next for you?
We are planning on hitting the road and continuing with The Black Mamba Tour in October.

More on your upcoming album.
The album touches upon the themes of the environment, dehumanisation, globalisation, gender and consumerism. But I engage with these themes as an artiste, not as an activist.

Rail Gaadi is a favourite because…
The spark of it is inspired by the Ashok Kumar song by the same title. However, our version is about gender and women’s occupation of public spaces.

Future assignments.
I recently sang for a Marathi film. I am also acting in award-winning filmmaker Natasha Mendonca’s feature film Ajeeb Aashiq. Apart from this, I am playing and recording music in Los Angeles.

Tonight. At blueFROG, Church Street. 8.30 pm. Tickets (`1,000 upwards) on bookmyshow.com

— Barkha Kumari

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