FEATURE: New Year, New Artists – Getting To Know…Kaviraj Singh | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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New Year New Artist at Sage Gateshead brings together stars of the future from folk, classical, jazz and world music. We get to know Kaviraj Singh little better ahead of an appearance on Saturday 19th January.

So, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I play the Santoor (Indian hammered dulcimer) and I’m also a vocalist. I started playing music when I was six years old and I’ve been told that I was always singing. To be honest,I still do to this day, whether it’s doing chores, while driving or in the bathroom! I was born in Leicester but spent the first 20 years of my life growing up in Leeds so feel like I’m a Northern lad at heart.
My dad is a Sitar player and educationalist, he was a lecturer at the Leeds College of Music teaching Indian improvisation to jazz and classical musicians on their respective instruments. He was also the founder of South Asian Arts UK (SAA-uk), an organisation who put on concerts and classes in Leeds so I was always surrounded by music. We had musicians visiting and staying with us regularly, there were inspiring performances and music being played at a high level. I’m grateful that this created an atmosphere that set me up for a life of music.
I studied music technology at De Montfort University in Leicester and I currently work freelance running sound for live shows or recording work. I specialise in Indian classical music as it takes a keen ear to be able to work with the subtleties of the instruments but I have dabbled in other genres, recording an old school reggae band was fun.
I’m quite into woodworking and making and fixing things, I’m fascinated by the way things work and I’m always taking things apart to see how they work. I repair all sorts of Indian instruments from sitars to harmoniums and i’m honing my skills and knowledge to hopefully make a Santoor very soon. Even though I haven’t formally learnt, people are encouraging and surprised at the quality of work I produce.

What’s the first record you ever bought?
I think it was a cassette tape from India of Daler Mehndi, he is an Indian singer with an incredible voice.

What’s your guilty pleasure musically?
Hmm, I grew up listening to and playing Indian classical music but my musical guilty pleasure has got to be either Stevie Wonder or then Hip-Hop, which my wife got me in to, to test the bass response of speakers.

Favourite film of all time?
I grew up in the 90s and Toy Story still stands out for me.

Your guilty pleasure film?
I watched Baywatch a few weeks ago, I think that counts.

If you could recommend one TV series to binge watch, what would it be?
Breaking Bad, any day of the week.

Your favourite book?
I get a kick out of reading the haynes manual.

Who or what makes you laugh the most?
Stand-up comedy is my go to for laughs and Peter Kay wins it for me.

Who or what makes you sad?
Brexit! Or more so the division and hatred it’s fuelled. There’s too much misinformation and it’s turned people against each other, if anybody’s to blame it’s the establishment.

If you had super power, what would it be?
Climb walls like Spiderman, painting the ceiling would be a lot easier.

And finally, you get to play a board game with any three famous people from history, who do you choose and what’s the board game?
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Steve Jobs, Robin Williams, and we’d probably play Monopoly.

Kaviraj Singh plays New Year, New Artists at Sage Gateshead on Saturday 19th January.

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