Gauri Sharma Tripathi & Urban Vani

From one of our young artists working on Urban Vani project with Gauri Sharma Tripathi:

This epic journey has been brewing for months, with Gauri creating the initial transcript back in December. We began reciting the bols in January under Gauri’s watchful eyes at Encee Academy’s studios in Brent. At first, we were slightly apprehensive of the exercises as we barely knew one another and it required a lot of opening up. We are all from different classes and although we’ve spent years together, most of the time is spent dancing and we have rarely had an opportunity to talk. Gauri decided that in order to make us ‘lose our inhibitions’ we must make a variety of obscure sounds to ‘let go’. My personal highlight involved the incident in which we made animal noises. The majority of the room burst into clichéd farmyard impressions of cows, pigs and other cute, little animals. All of a sudden Gauri broke the norm and began bizarre tropical bird mating calls, much to the amusement of the whole room. The objective of this session was to completely let go and build up our concentration for the rest of the day. Unfortunately by this point the room was in a fit of hysterics beyond any point of repair.

About a month into our rehearsals, a quiet and spectacled gentleman strolled into the back of our studio, much to the bewilderment to the girls. Initially, I assumed a scientist had lost his way to a local astronomy convention, although this idea was immediately revoked when I realised how young he looked, and decided that there was no way he could be an astrophysicist at his age. Gauri ardently introduced him to us as ‘Shlo’ and he astounded us with a bout of sounds spiralling out of every crevice of his voice box. He did an incredible freestyle which terminated with the opening phrase of Justin Timberlake’s ‘My Love’. The whole group stood in unison – with every jaw dropped in awe. With the exception of Gauri who had a massive grin perched upon her face and was dancing away.

By the time we reached Southbank Centre for the latter half of our rehearsals, we had finally discarded of our inhibitions and were able to laugh at each other’s brilliantly bizarre sounds. Shlomo gave us a beatboxing workshop with a variety of oddities. By this point I had become so influenced by the eccentricity of the sessions that I decided to break the norm (in true Gauri style) by ‘beatboxing’ Clapton (singing the guitar riff from Layla completely out of tune and arhythmically).

Sadly our weeks of madness are nearing an end, although I still have oodles to enjoy when the journey culminates this weekend (28 & 29 April at Queen Elizabeth Hall – Urban Vani & Circa).