Shammi Pithia, performing live at the Alchemy Festival at The Southbank Centre, 16th May 2014
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TALENTED musician Sham­mi Pithia has made a name for himself on the live circuit with a variety of projects and shown off his versatility.

The composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist will continue that unpredict­ability by providing original live music for dance produc­tion About The Elephant, which is being staged at Pur­cell Room, Southbank Cen­tre in London on May 6 as part of this year’s Alchemy.

Talented dancers Vidya Patel and Connor Scott com­bine their magnificent moves with Shammi’s solo music performance in the thought-provoking, yet entertaining show. Eastern Eye caught up with Shammi to talk music, the new production, Alche­my and more…

How do you look back on your musical journey?

The journey has been full of fun, hard work and surprise! I’ve taken some good turns, but also bad ones. Each ex­perience has been unique and enlightening. I’ve met and worked with some pretty incredible people, so ultimately I’m very grateful.

Have you consciously tried to do diverse projects?

Yes! The best way to learn is by experiencing things and working with amazing people, so I try and get myself into positions where I can do this.

Which of your projects is closest to your heart?

Possibly my last album COS­MIC. I think it was a real turning point for me profes­sionally and personally. A lot of love went into it, and a lot has happened because of it.

How much are you looking forward to participating at this year’s Alchemy?

Very much! It’s always a pleasure performing at the Southbank, and especially at Alchemy. The audience and vibe are always brilliant.

What can we expect from About The Elephant?

Vidya Patel and Connor Scott are two of the most wonderful dancers coming through British dance, and in this piece they have craft­ed something truly beautiful.You can expect delicate yet strong movement with some pretty big sounds.

How does this compare to other projects you have worked on?

In this piece, we had no starting point, no structure and no set compositions to work with. We created it from scratch and it went through all the chopping and changing new pieces go through. It was a real labour of love, but worth it.

What is the biggest chal­lenge of performing music at a dance event like this?

Technically, my set-up is challenging and new for me. I’m used to having a few mu­sicians on stage, but on this I’ve gone solo so that’s a lot of weight to carry.

Who are you hoping connects with About The Elephant?

Anyone who loves music and dance! I think there is some­thing in there for everyone.

What can we expect next from you?

I hope to dedicate the second part of this year to a new album.

Who would you love to work with?

Right now, Rakesh Chaurasia.

What inspires you?

Other musicians. There have always been incredible mu­sicians out there, but now they are more accessible. That and science!

If you could learn a new in­strument, what would it be?

It would either be a string or bass guitar. String because they are all very emotive, and bass because they are the coolest people on stage.

Why do you love music?

I don’t think I can find all the reasons as it’s kind of like ex­plaining why you love anoth­er person. It’s just natural and unconditional.

  • About the Elephant is per­formed as part of Alchemy by kathak artist Vidya Patel and contemporary dancer Connor Scott, accompanied by origi­nal live music from Shammi Pithia on May 6, 7.45pm at Purcell Room, Southbank Centre in London. Visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk for more information.