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Anil Shahi - A Musical Asset
3 June 2010-Thursday
-The Cheeguz

The name Anil Shahi has always been synonymous to flawless guitar fusion instrumentals. With initial lessons from his uncle and vast eastern classical music studies from Varanasi, India, Shahi has established himself as one of the finest fusion guitarists internationally. A great musician, a loving husband and a father, Shahi can boast about performing over hundred concerts across the globe, that too at some world renowned venues: The British Museum and the Brunei Gallery, London. He is indeed a valuable asset of our music industry. The recipient of the Best Fusion Guitarist award in Taiwan in 2006 recently released his seventh album “Bhairavi”- a complete fusion set and that was what caught our attention. So for this time around on the spotlight, we have Anil Shahi.

1. How did your interest for music start? What inspired you to take music as your career?
Anil: I was interested in music since my childhood days. Even as a kid, I used to be amazed by the instruments, their tunes and pleasant sounds. And on top of that, my uncle and my seniors also used to play guitar which really inspired me to the core of my heart.

2. Among all the instruments, is there any specific reason why you chose guitar? Do you play any other instruments?
Well there are no specific reasons as to why I particularly chose guitar as my instrument but I’ve always been able to connect to the six string. I started playing guitar at the age of 12 and since then, there’s been no looking back for me. And besides guitar, I also play flute and percussions on special occasions and at social gatherings.

3. Why do you play guitar like sitar? What’s the source of the eastern classical style?
Must say, an interesting question. Well, first of all, I particularly chose eastern classical music as my genre because my grandfather used to play tabla and I’d been hearing him since I was very young. So that, sort of, inspired me and the next thing is, I’d learnt the very genre in India. Thus, I love classical raagas and the application on guitar is automatically influenced by that for sitar.

4. Do you have a band of your own or just a temporary back-up band?
Well, I don’t really have a whole permanent band thing but I have a certain group of instrumentalists who most of the times play with me and the line-up changes only sometimes.

5. How much of touring do you do?
Touring is something that has been more than frequent for me. Yes, I do that a lot, mostly abroad. In 1998, I was in Malaysia, the following year in India and between 2000 and 2005 I had the opportunity to perform at numerous concerts in London. It was, without a doubt, a wonderful experience and then again in 2006, I had a proud moment in Taiwan where I was awarded the title Best Fusion Guitarist among the 70 countries that participated. It was a privilege to represent Nepal in such big events.

6. What other interests do you have besides music?
Apart from making music, I usually spend my free time watching TV, swimming and watching movies. I’m also into meditation.

7. Any inspirational figures? National and international.
Well, now that you asked, I have a very long list of idols. Nevertheless, to name some: Swor Samrat Narayan Gopal, Prem Dhoj Pradhan, Tara Devi, sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, Spanish composer/guitarist Paco de Lucia, John McLaughlin, Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar.

8. What kind of expectations do you have from your new album “Bhairavi”?
Anil: This is my first album which has witnessed an official press release and at its launch, I also performed especially for the media for the first time. So, I’m really hoping for a nice coverage and since I’ve worked so hard on the fusion collection, I’m definite the audience is going to like it.

9. Have you thought of using vocals from other popular singers for your music pieces in the future?
Sure, absolutely, why not?! And even I love to sing time and again. In fact, my vocals album will be releasing sometime during Dashain/Tihar this year. So I’m pretty excited about it.

10. How busy are you with your work? Do you take time out for your family and friends?
Anil: I’m always busy in the evenings because of my shows but I definitely make a point to spend some quality time with my family. I especially love going to the cinemas with my kids.

11. Any last words?
I heartily thank the CyberSansar team for giving me a chance to speak out my views on things and for letting the audience know me better. Hope they will love and appreciate my music.

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