MUMBAI — After participating in hit reality shows like "Indian Idol," live performances, studio projects and playback singing, Avanti Patel has dropped her first original, “Saiyaan Bina," a thumri about love and longing between two people, no matter who they are or where they are from.
"Saiyaan Bina" is a project inspired by a few close friends who have come out over the years. Debuting as a music director and lyricist, Patel has collaborated with Anshuman Sharma, who has beautifully blended contemporary music production with a traditional genre like thumri.
Patel said, “The internet and the world around us is inundated with cis-het (straight) narratives, especially if the music holds traditional roots. Which is why I have taken an inclusive approach with interpreting the word ‘Saiyaan.’ The video is beautifully animated by Apu, my childhood friend who recently came out as transmasculine. I wanted him to be a close part of this endeavor, considering the core essence of the project—acceptance of and normalizing LGBTQIA+ narratives in everyday life, including the books we read, the films we watch and the music we listen to.”
Patel is very passionate about Hindustani classical music and believes that it needs to become more accessible, right from the arrangement of the music, its duration, the lyrics and what they represent. "Saiyaan Bina" is her attempt to bridge the gap and show people how beautiful classical music can be.
The track has been produced by Anshuman Sharma, who said, “‘Saiyaan Bina’ is an amalgamation of two different raags representing two very contradictory emotions. Avanti has sung it beautifully and it’s a unique concept by her. I had a great time producing and structuring it harmonically, as you start somewhere but you’re in a different dimension by the end of the song!"
Patel has participated in reality shows like "Indian Idol Season 10" and Zee Marathi’s "Idea Saregamapa Champs Season 1." She has also performed and toured worldwide in over 500 shows and performed on Zee Marathi for three episodes of "Khupte Tithe Gupte." She has also been a playback singer in Marathi and Gujarati films.
Her musical journey started at the age of five, when she started her formal music lessons from Varsha Bhave. Under her guidance, she completed her Sangeet Visharad and stood first in her M.A. (Hindustani classical vocals) exams. During this time, she also had the opportunity to learn from Archana Kanhere and Rajashri Pathak. She is currently the disciple of Vidushi Ashwini Bhide Deshpande of the Jaipur Atrauli Gharana.
Her areas of passion include Thumri and Ghazal Gayaki, as well as recreating classics using a vocal dominant arrangement style.
Her social media projects include #ShamSessions, wherein she collaborated with several vocalists and presented acapella covers recorded live, and most recently, #CoversInASaree project —featuring small homegrown saree brands (especially those affected by the pandemic) as a part of her cover series.
Among her most recent projects is "O Gaanewali," a concept show based on the lives and music of "tawaifs" and women performers in India. This show was produced by Harkat Studios and premiered on their live virtual interactive stage and watched all over the world in three successful runs online.
Watch the song here: