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Opera with a desi touch

Opera with a desi touch
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Opera fused with Indian music is something to watch out for. In a first of sorts, Italian opera singer Gioconda Vessichelli has teamed up with Mika Singh for a Punjabi-English-Hindi number. The soprano singer has recorded a song with Mika Singh to create a fusion singles album, Thori Daru. We got talking with the artiste while she was in the Capital for an event. Excerpts:

Tell us something about yourself.
My life as an opera singer started very early as I was discovered by the principal of the Music University (Santa Cecilia, Rome) when I was just 14 years old. Normally for opera singing classes you can apply only when you are at least 18 years old because your voice should be a mature voice. I was the youngest opera singer in Italy to get opera singing degree at such early age. I also took training classes to learn the secret of perfect singing technique. I have lots of statues of Ganesha God in my house in Rome. My friend call me ‘the Indian girl’ because everything is Indian in my house in Rome. Later, I was selected among the five people to attend the singing lesson with the biggest opera singer of the world.
 
Tell us something about the song Thodi Daaru!
 Thodi Daaru! with Mika Singh is a clear example of fusion between western music (Opera) and Indian music (Bollywood) that’s why I created the word ‘Bollywoopera style’. Thodi Daaru is a mix of Punjabi, Hindi and rapper part with my particular voice and Mika’s voice. It’s fast, it is fun, and it is different in the real sense combining Punjabi with opera and rap style. 
Mika and I collaborated for this music single Thodi Daaru! after meeting at a party, we gelled well since our artistic concept of music and personality matched and we thought to make a song which is different and new for the audiences.
 
You are the first opera singer ever to fuse opera and Indian music, what inspired you for this?

I was very influenced by Indian music and always wanted to open my mind towards Indian music, special effects and using the quarter of tone. I always had in a mind to create a fusion between Western and Indian music.

The first time I came to India was for a spiritual journey in search of new tunes and a pleasant musical atmosphere. I learnt using the quarter of tone that we normally don’t use in western music. Indian music offers much more shades and nuances. That’s where my chord got attracted towards Indian Music and Bollywood style music. Bollywood music gave me more variety of singing and a texture to showcase my talent in a different and unique style.  

Did the difference in languages ever bothered you?
I have always been very open to achieve musical influences from other cultures and languages so I have been learning opera songs not only in Italian language but also in other languages. So when I do my concerts they always have a touch of multicultural and unconventional style. The sensation of singing in Hindi is a magic sensation! Even if I speak Hindi thoda thoda (very little). I normally ask for a translation of the lyrics of the song because I want to be sure to give the right feeling and emotion to each and every word of the song while I am singing.
 
How did you come across Mika Singh?
Mika and I met at a party. And the musical energy was contagious. He asked me to do a song together. And I agreed to it at once. We gelled well since our artistic concept of music and personality matched and we thought to make a song which is different and new for the audiences.
 
How was the experience working with Mika Singh? How’s he as a co-singer?
Working with Mika has been a marvelous experience. He is such a great artiste and good human being. I am so happy because the song is a combination of my vocal skills with Mika’s style of singing making the song more unique and suitable for all kind of people.
 
According to you, how is opera future in India? What do you think the scopes are?
As for opera and Indian music, I think it’s not just a coincidence if the God of Indian music A R Rahman is aware of opera songs, maybe there’s a deep meaning in opera songs and the way in which I have been able to fuse it with Indian music has let me achieve a great success.
 Indian people have reacted very enthusiastically to the vibrations produced by my kind of opera voice, and I think when a product of art is good it has no boundaries.
 
Who is your favorite musician in India and across?
Pavarotti, the biggest opera singer of the world, who has been my teacher, a great artist, a great voice and a great human being.

Madonna, an amazing artiste with not a great voice but a great mind and creative potentials.

Mika Singh, an artist who can give joy with his voice to listeners. Lots of other Bollywood artistes like AR Rahman, Sonu Nigam, Asha Bhosale and many others.
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