Bridging the divide

Musician Shaunvinda uses traditional percussions to play modern music

23 Feb 2021 / 11:38 H.

OUTSHINING other contestants to clinch second place in the finals of the inaugural The Harvinth Skin Fans’ show last month, Shaunvinder Singh, 22, gave a remarkable performance by playing contemporary music using traditional Indian instruments to display his talent.

Although the show boasted vocally-diverse talents, Shaunvinder set himself apart from the others, captivating the judges by showing his finesse in playing the dhol and tabla, hence transcending music boundaries.

The Harvinth Skin Fans’ talent show was created by comedian and YouTuber Harvinth Skin. The show initially began on a small scale, literally inside the comedian’s car but was later turned into an actual show, intended as a platform to showcase Malaysia’s diverse talents.

Seeing it as an opportunity to bring his talents to a bigger platform, Shaunvinder seized the opportunity and took part in the show.

“I analysed the show and saw that there were many singers with various talent. I asked myself what would make me stand out from the others.

“The idea was to be creative and to get the judges on the edge of their seats. I think I managed to do that,” said Shaunvinder, who goes by the stage name Shaunvinda.

A computer science graduate, the aspiring musician revealed that music had begun as a hobby, before it progressively became more important after he began posting his music on social media.

“My mum said that when I was younger, I used Milo and milk tins as drums. Things took off from there when my dad got me a dhol because I showed interest,” he said, adding that he started playing the drum when he was about eight years of age.

Shaunvinder would then begin trying his hand at rapping and singing, with the former being his way of sending out messages he thinks are important for others to hear.

“My first rap video was about racism, which I released during the last Merdeka. The other rap video I did was about the V2K Telegram group. Those were the main two videos, while the others were just for entertainment,” he said.

When Shaunvinder entered the talent show, he knew he would be in the limelight as the talent show had thousands of followers. But this was not the musician’s first stint.

During the football finals in the 2017 SEA Games, Shaunvinder was part of a group that rendered a dhol performance to cheer up the crowd, which went viral.

“A friend came up with the idea of playing the dhol in the stadium. Initially, I was skeptical because I was scared and it had never been done before. I thought people might chase us out or may not let us into the stadium. But we gave it a shot and everyone loved it,” he said.

“My aim was to show the world that culture doesn’t die and is able to transcend boundaries. Our Indian culture can blend anywhere, even with Western songs.”

Currently, Shaunvinder is juggling work and his passion for music, which he says is not easy.

“I’m definitely looking forward to making music and getting on Spotify. I’m also looking forward to working with Harvinth in his projects, and to release music.”

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