Entertainment Music 17 Jan 2018 Discovery of a music ...

Discovery of a musician

Published Jan 17, 2018, 12:17 am IST
Updated Jan 17, 2018, 12:17 am IST
Meet Darbuka Siva, the man behind ‘Maruvaarthai’.
Darbuka Siva at  a performance.
 Darbuka Siva at a performance.

The idea backfired. When Gautham Menon and his music director released the first song of Enai Noki Paayum Thota (ENPT), they decided to keep the latter’s name a secret. It came out as Mr X. The song — Maruvaarthai — got picked up, shared, loved. Curious music lovers began hunting for this anonymous musician. Till someone dug out his name — Darbuka Siva, the man who had a little earlier, brought beautiful music to the film Kidaari.

Gautham admitted it’s him. Siva himself was in a spot. The whole idea of not revealing the name had been to keep the spotlight away from him. He is not being modest, he says in an interview, he is just really awkward when a lot of attention falls on him. 


“The idea absolutely backfired. They just started talking more about who the person could be. People thought it’s a great marketing strategy. It was nothing of the sort. Now, in hindsight, it was almost like a social experiment — how people relate to the song they hear, and what difference it makes when you know who has done the song. You go with the preconceived notion that a particular person will definitely make a great song even before you hear it. It works the other way too. Here, you could relate to a track without knowing who the creator is,” Siva says. 


Gautham knew him way before, when Siva was making independent music. He had been part of many bands, drummed his way through experimental projects and artist residences in other countries. Darbuka got added to his name when he became an RJ and there was another Siva around. He picked the name of the Arabic percussion instrument and put it in prefix. A little later he took a sabbatical from music. And planned on learning to be a football coach for ‘nothing excited him like football’. But that’s when he got a call from films. He first thought it was for his music, but they wanted him to play a part in a movie. So Siva, who was anyway looking for something different, acted in Rajathanthiram. “It was like an independent movie, and they let me write my lines,” Siva says. More movies came, but when he started getting the same kind of roles, he stopped taking them. He will, when it excites him again.


But then it is acting that brought him Kidaari. “Prasath Murugesan, executive producer for Rajathanthiram, had known me since my independent music days. We used to have lots of conversations — we had similar tastes in music and movies. Once he narrated a script. It was the script of Kidaari. He wanted to use Tamil folk music with a different sound. But he knew I wasn’t keen on film music,” Siva says. In the end Siva took it up, realising it was the sensible thing to do. He was still reluctant when Gautham told him about ENPT. Let’s do one song and see, he had told Gautham. It worked. “It all depends on the kind of people I am working with. I need to make sure I can relate to the director’s vision. With Gautham especially, it was almost like working as an independent musician. He just let me do whatever I felt like.”


The independent music itself has slowed down a bit, because of a conscious break Siva has taken. He continues with his experimental projects, collaborating with musicians in different countries. He has been picked as a facilitator for ‘The Dosti Music Project’, which brings together a group of musicians from Pakistan, India, and the U.S. for a month-long residency and tour.