Photographer: | Oliver Rajamani
13 Apr / 2009Program by:
Language: Festival

Touching the Soul through Music

“The more I live life, the more I play, it seems like I have so much to say, but then I have nothing.. I’m not here to become a master, I’m here to be present, be with people and enjoy life, be conscious in every single breath. Each breath we take is all we have. Until you get to that place of silence inside yourself you are not able to feel life. That’s what music is all about, that’s all about silence” – says Oliver Rajamani, a renowned world music artist from Tamil Nadu. He has created his own music by arranging traditional folk songs of the Middle East, European Roma, Spain, Africa, North America, and India chronicling their historic path and by adding new compositions not found anywhere else on the globe.

To hear him play, sing and speak one gets the impression that he is full-blooded Gypsy, and perhaps his ancient roots are just that. He was enamoured with music, listening to it and singing with his family as a child. Ollie, as his friends call him, attended Kodaikanal International School from an early age through graduation at age 18. A musical scholarship brought him to Friends’ World College in New York. After some years of exposure to many types of music, Ollie’s style developed into a unique blend of Indian, Arabic and Flamenco rhythms, at the same time fusing music of the Indian Diaspora of the Roma gypsy. Presently residing in Austin, Texas, a small town known as one of America’s musical capitols, Ollie has become a world-class musician, touring and presenting concerts to spell-bound audiences worldwide. His playing of multiple stringed instruments, his drum work, his voice with its Carnatic influence as well as Flamenco style is distinct, mesmerizing, and not a foot in the audience can keep still. Percussion was his first inroad into the world of music; his drumming is influenced from India, Africa, Arabic regions and Latin America giving any music an exotic twist.
Instruments played within Ollie’s ensemble include sarod, flamenco guitar, tabla, dumbek, deff (or teppu) harmonium, djembe, congas, and mandolin. His lyrics are the distinct Indian dialect of Tamil with a mix of Hindi and Spanish. The energy this young man produces creates a smile in the heart of every listener.
Oliver Rajamani has performed with various well-established artists locally known and internationally recognized such as the Gypsy Kings, Glen Velez (Frame Drummer,) Lara and Reyes, and many other traditional flamenco and Indian dance troupes from around the world.