A teaser for Coke Studio Tamil was released yesterday. My father came up to me this morning and asked ‘Dei what is this Coca Cola thing?’ To him and all others asking, here goes.
I was on tour recently in the US in October 2022, when I got a message from the music composer, Sean Roldan asking if I would be willing to sing a song for Coke Studio Tamizh, a new project that was taking shape. He told me that I would be collaborating with Arifullah Khan, a Tamil fakir who sang sufi music, and of course a number of accompanying instruments. The whole thing was to be curated and conducted by Sean Roldan himself. It was a new song and lyrics were penned by Krithika Nelson and the subject was about Faith and what it meant to all of us.
For me, Sean Roldan is a mature musical mind, and I don’t have to think twice when he comes up with a proposal. I immediately said yes and we started brainstorming once I got back from tour. This was a really new and fulfilling experience for me. Rehearsing, and finally performing live in a 28 member ensemble. Sean Roldan was right in the midst of things, curating, coaxing and getting everyone in line to match what he had conceived and planned.
The whole song was to be filmed and recorded live as we performed in a specially designed set at a film studio in the heart of Kollywood! It was a fairly long day of filming. The morning started off with interviews, some still photo shoots. Post lunch we had a number of rehearsals. Finally we started shooting as the ensemble performed and recorded live both the audio and video. It was a throwback to the old days of film music when the entire troupe performed and recorded live. These days however technology allows a lot of things to be done with the final output, but still it was a lot of hard work and everyone of us had to satisfy the musical and energy demands of a live performance. Multiple rehearsals and takes meant that we had to get it absolutely right!
The production was a pretty big affair. Right from make up and costumes to light, camera, audio there was big team of more than a 100 people on set. It was so beautiful to see so many young people working hard and getting things moving. For me this was totally new but I felt young and energetic and came away thinking “Even though I might have been the oldest person on set, I wouldn’t mind more of this!”
Coke Studio Season 01 was launched officially on 23rd January. A total of 8 songs will be released at frequent intervals. Stay tuned for more updates and I am equally excited how this is going to pan out in the coming months.
PS: As the recent music season in December got underway, I got a call asking if I could be available for a promo shoot. Thankfully I had a couple of free days and managed to squeeze the shoot in. It was just a 30 sec shot, but the process was pretty long and we ended up spending almost 8-10 hours. Waiting, set up etc etc. I narrated this to a friend who asked me, if they could not have planned it any better. My response was from the classic Tamizh film Kadhalikka Neramillai where an aspiring Director/Producer Nagesh responds to a query from the heroine’s father about his filming process “Productionnaa ennannu theriyumaayaa unakku?” (Loosely translated – “Do you have any idea about what production is?”)