Broken Notes by Kamna Shastri of RadioActive

March 21, 2012 in Youthcast by Emily

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Kamna Shastri makes music, and she makes radio. The main difference between these endeavors, she says, is that she makes radio for an audience whom she has to make certain will understand the ideas she's trying to communicate. The music she makes just for herself. Lately, Kamna's been making a lot of radio about music.

In this week's Youthcast, we'll hear about two of Kamna's stories, as well as musical arrangements*. The first story is about an a cappella group that one of Kamna's friends belongs to. The group combines Indian music and western music, the two traditions Kamna grew up studying — so Kamna knew a lot about the subject before gathering her tape. This piece is abbreviated in the podcast, so be sure to check out the full version, below.

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The other story is about a man who lovingly recycles old pianos, a person and subject that were wholly unfamiliar to Kamna until she got working on the story. Kamna says that in the beginning, interviewing her friend was easier than interviewing the piano repairman, since Kamna says she can be shy with strangers, especially at first. Plus, she already had a deep understanding of Indian and western music and cultures, so she knew which questions were likely to be fruitful.

However, Kamna says something really special happens once she's deep into an interview with somebody she doesn't already know. She says "something happens in my mind where I have no sense of myself, where any sort of judgment or me sticking to my opinions (I tend to be sort of opinionated) all of that sort of drops when I’m putting the story together, and in a way their story becomes — almost — my story."

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*In the podcast, a musical work by A.R. Rahman was accidentally attributed to Shastri. The performance and arrangement are Shastri's.