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Shri- the profile

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Born in Mumbai, India Shrikanth Sriram made his mark on the British-Asian music scene over the last two decades. His style of fusing Indian classical music with rock, jazz and drum n’ bass influences have heralded him as a cornerstone of British-Asian music. Like Mayur Narvekar of the Bandish Projekt, Srikanth Sriram also trained as a classical tabla player. It wasn’t long before he was mesmerised by the power of bass. His infatuation with the style was fuelled by legends like Led Zepplin and German bass icon Eberhard Weber. Srikanth or Shri as he is better known is also a multi-instrumentalist in the form of the Indian flute (self taught) and his trademark, self designed fretless bass played with a bow. It was over 2 decades ago that Shri was celebrating his indo-jazz debut album ‘Inspirational Satisfaction’ . The same year Simon Dove, a festival producer from the UK , chanced upon his album when browsing through a record store on a visit to Bombay.

Shri was soon whisked off to the UK to play with the rising star, British-Asian tabla player and producer – Talvin Singh. Soon after Shri worked with the Dutch choreographer Ellen Van Schuylenburch for the Place theatre. Around the same time Shri also landed himself a deal with Outcaste Records. A production house recognised today as a key player in putting the UK Asian Underground scene on the map. It was a generation of British-Asians that were assertive and proud of their roots. Sitars, tablas and bollywood music was all the rage and appeared across the cultural and arts spectrum. Nitin Sawhney was one such emerging artist when Shri joined him . The duo toured together for 5 years . In 1997 Nitin and Shri released their debut album ‘Drum the Bass’  with Outcaste records.It was seen as a refreshingly authentic interpretation of the use of tabla for percussion on a drum’n bass album all across Europe. Shri’s classical training was lauded on the British Dance underground scene.

Following the success of this album Shri partnered with DJ and producer Badmarsh . They had been introduced by the head of Outcaste Records, Shabs, who was convinced that the their individually different sounds would complement each other successfully. In 1998 as ‘Badmarsh & Shri’ the duo released their debut album Dancing Drums . The album was a fusion of drum and bass, hip hop, Indian classical elements and jazz. In 2001 they released their second album ‘Signs’ drawing from their respective backgrounds of dancehall, funk, latin and african beats. Over the years Shri has also been part of musical collaborations for theater productions. Shri cmposed for Akademi’s 2001 ‘Coming of Age’ dance project at London’s South Bank, the Builder’s Association/Motiroti co-production ‘Alladeen’ in 2003, and Tamasha Theatre Company’s ‘Strictly Dandia’ in 2005.

This May in Bangalore Shri, JC 001 and the Bandish Projekt are bringing together their influences of indo-jazz, trip-hop, percussion heavy drums n bass for Hennessy Artistry India. The question is where will you be when this is going down?

  • Mahmudul Joshi

    he is an awesome musician….