I’m listening to songs from ‘Gully Boy’ right now: Grammy 2019 nominee Falu
By Bryan Durham - May 14, 2019
The only Indian nominee at the Grammy’s this year was singer-songwriter Falguni Shah, who goes by the stage name Falu. She released an album in February last year, titled Falu’s Bazaar, which has been nominated in the Best Children’s Music category. She is the only Indian nominee this year.
Inspired by her four-year-old son Nishaad’s curiosity about language, identity, and the food they ate home, Falu’s Bazaar overturns a lot of the stereotypes associated with conventional children’s music. Besides a high degree of musicianship, the album exudes a great deal of depth and maturity.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Falu has strong musical roots, receiving rigorous training in the Jaipur musical tradition and the Benaras style of Thumri.
We had the oportunity to send over some questions to the New York-based singer-songwriter. Here are her replies…
Falguni is a lovely name. Why shorten it?
My pet name has always been Falu and everyone in my family called me that. And so, I continued with Falu even when I came to America.
You were a Mumbai girl. What do you miss most about the city?
I miss the spontaneous get-togethers and late-night conversations on my swing at my house in Mumbai with loved ones
If you had to define your sound for first-time listeners, you would say it is…
Most of your inspiration for Falu’s Bazaar comes from Bollywood and popular songs. Given its bent towards the familiar, who would you say your target audience was and what’s the feedback you eventually got for the album?
For Falu’s Bazaar, my target audience were children and the feedback on the album until now has been 100% positive which I’m so happy about.
It all feels edu-taining (educational+entertaining). Is that a direction you intend to continue in?
Sure. if, through music, I can entertain and educate at the same time, I’ll gladly take that term.
Your favourite track off Falu’s Bazaar?
What does the Grammy nomination mean to you and the impact it has had on your career since?
For most musicians, it means a seal of approval from the music world and to me, it has given a lot of exposure to mainstream and regional markets globally, which I’m hugely honoured and immensely thankful for.
The most memorable moment of your career this far?
Singing at the White House for President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama with AR Rahman.
As a mother, what kind of music or artists do you think children should start listening to?
Children should listen to their age appropriate music in any and all languages. Music that educates them and is fun to play. Artists like Dan Zan are a great example of children’s music that can be so amazing for little ones to listen to.
Your thoughts on Baby Shark and it’s impact on pop culture?
I love Baby Shark myself and I think it’s a fun song that grown-ups also enjoy singing with their kids.
One reason you’ll return to Mumbai for?
To tour, compose and sing in Bollywood.
One new Bollywood song you’re listening to, right now?
The songs from Gully Boy.
Also, is it your voice on Basmati Blues? Do you think the film is filled with stereotypes or not?
Yes, it is my voice that features on When Tomorrow Comes from Basmati Blues. I think the movie was quite entertaining.>