An Exclusive Interview with Tarun Balani
A composer, performer, and a music educator, Tarun Balani’s music is driven by a restless desire to be a holistic artist and inspired by his Indian roots. Tarun in collaboration with Tiziano Bianchi, Joshua Crumbly, Sharik Hasan and Alex Pinto (commonly known as Tarun Balani Collective) has recently recorded their latest album “Dharma” in Brooklyn, New Year early this year, 2017. He released the title track “Dharma” independently which is currently available on Apple Editor’s playlist under the Jazz section.
Tarun’s music has been featured on WNYC, MTV, VH1, Coke Studio India, HIT95FM. He has played concerts in India, Italy, USA, SriLanka, and Nepal. He endorses Zildjian cymbals.
BananiVista in conversation with Tarun, here are the excerpts:
BV: Where does your musical inspiration come from? How did you get started?
Tarun: I feel my musical inspiration comes from every sphere of my life. Personally, it is an inward and a spiritual experience for me. I got started at an early age where my father would play records for us in the car, and my mom would be listening to ABBA etc. at home, so music was always around. My grandfather was an artist, his paintings and photographs were a huge inspiration, and had a deep impact on how I view modern art. At 13, I began playing the drums in my school band. I absolutely fell in love with the power of the beat!
BV: What musicians have influenced your music?
Tarun: Every musician/artist I have interacted with has influenced me in some or the other way. Having said that, the list of jazz greats, classical composers, painters, poets is exhaustive but here are a few- Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Tony Williams, Debussy, Ravel, Escher, Hazrat Inayat Khan and it goes on!
BV: What do you like about what you do?
Tarun: I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to travel, perform and write music. It is truly a blessing. I really cannot imagine myself doing anything else as I absolutely love it!
BV: What is most challenging about what you do?
Tarun: The most challenging part is to keep your head up and keep on moving forward as an artist. Also to be relevant and continuously deliver a high level of art takes a lot of diligence, practice, and patience. It definitely does not come easy!
BV: What is most rewarding in this musical journey?
Tarun: The most rewarding part for me is when I am able to connect with my audiences whether at a live concert or when they’re experiencing my music at home, and we’re able to share a feeling or an emotion through a composition, a phrase or even a single note on the trumpet.
BV: What is the future of Jazz in India?
Tarun: I feel there’s a lot of scope for improvised music in India. I feel it is the time we leave the four letter word “Jazz” behind and start calling it improvised music.
BV: Highlight on your upcoming shows.
Tarun: I am absolutely thrilled to bring my band to “The Finch”. It features an amazing line up of artists, and I cannot wait to take the stage!