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Calm Like a Bomb: Swarathma and Shlomo The Beat-Boxing Adventurer

Our one-of-a-kind collaboration with the brilliant beat-boxer Shlomo and Raies Khan that ends in a mad live jam!

We had to scrape our collective jaw off the floor when we first watched Shlomo’s videos. The man, as it has been established several times over, is brilliant. An impeccable sense of timing with raw talent makes for a heady combination as amply felt by audiences at the Glastonburies of the world. We were struck by his penchant for innovation and his easy going style. When the collaboration got confirmed, we wondered, what’s he really going to be like in person?

[Photo] Nevil (That Cat Entertainment), Raies Khan (Dharohar Project) and Shlomo under the influence of our Topis, right before the gig.

But we needn’t have worried. Shlomo came across with the lack of artifice generally reserved for old friends. But under all the affable charm was a razor sharp, keen sense of what would work, and how to make it work. It would be the first time he would collaborate with a full band on his tour, with the previous gigs being with the likes of Sidd and Gaurav of ToT and Ujwal and Suhail of Advaita. It was good to see morchang madcap Raies Khan with whom we’ve jammed with on our tour of Jodhpur last year. He’d put on weight and picked up a few more tricks along the way.

The rehearsal post-soundcheck wasn’t world-beating, I must say. We didn’t find the feel, and when we tried to bring voices together under Shlomo’s direction it felt a little ‘exposed’ in the man’s own words. We wrapped up with the idea that you cannot rehearse spontaneity. It was now up to the God of Jambands to see us through.

The show began with Shlomo showing the audience a thing or two on how its done! Bangalore watched in disbelief as the dude worked his loop station to get insane awesomeness on the road. The somewhat awkward about to be an astrophysicist teenager turned international beat-boxing superstar still retains a sizable chunk of his boyish charm that shone through his topi-topped performance.

[Photo] The 'Calm-like-a-Bomb' Shlomo directs a mad final jam, Varun and Vasu have eyes transfixed on him to catch the cues

Pic: Rakesh Ayilliath

When it was finally time to collaborate, something clicked. Like a missing piece of the puzzle that unlocks a mystery. We flew with Pilot Shlomo at the helm. It was awesome the way he would direct our playing, almost like a an orchestra conductor, the ebb and flow of a song we came up with totally on the spot. In the end, ‘Hey You Macha’, ‘Ee Bhoomi’ and ‘The Encore’ turned out to be pieces we will remember for a long long time. We’ll also remember the incredulous look on his face when we gifted him squeaky baby shoes. Hope your baby jams a dance with you, brother!

And the final coolness factor? His manager Irit. We loved her. Not least because she’s his mom! Can you imagine how cool it is to take your mom on a tour of the world with you?!

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