“Keep studying hard and develop your skill, your ideas and your creativity!”- Shanti Colucci

Ingranaggi della Valle is a new young band from Rome with Flavio Gonnelllini on guitar, Mattia Liberati on keyboards, Antonio Coronato on bass, Marco Gennarini  on violin, Alessandro Disciullo on guitar and keyboards, Paolo Motta on vocals and  Shanti Colucci on drums and percussion. The band plays jazz fusion and funk / rock evolving their style moving to a new way of composition which binds vintage prog and jazz with a new and personal style. Recently, Shanti was in Kolkata.

You started to play the drums very early in your life. How did playing the drums evolve from being just a hobby to a professional career?

My passion with music started very early in my life thanks to my parents. I spent with them a lot of time listening to many different kinds of music, from rock to jazz and also Indian classical music. But when I was 14 I realized that only listening was not enough for me and soon I started playing drums because I was mostly fascinated by rhythm and my real dream was playing and making music. In few years thanks to my master Gianni di Renzo and to my dedication I realized that music was my life and I would have spent my existence on it. So after high school I attended the Conservatory of Frosinone and the Saint Louis College of Music in Rome where I continued studying with my master that is the starting point of my career.

Who are the musicians that inspire you the most?

My influences are very heterogeneous because since the beginning I used to pay attention to different styles and kind of music, also from very different areas in the world. But after a period spent mostly on rock, progressive and jazz-rock, being influenced by many great musicians and drummers like Phil Collins, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dennis Chambers, Chick Corea, Weather Report, John Mclaughlin etc., now I'm more focused on modern and traditional jazz. Nowadays my great source of inspiration are on one side those who belongs to the bebop and hard-bop era (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams and so on) and on the other side those who are the new generation of jazz musicians: Tigran Hamasyan, Mark Guiliana, Jeff Ballard, The Bad Plus, Eric Harland, Avishai Cohen, Brad Melhdau, Kneebody, just to name some of them. For me it's always important to have multiple influences and I'm always searching for new bands, new music, new inspiration. Moreover, since I started playing Indian music I soon began to be influenced by the greatest Indian musicians, like Zakir Hussain, Selvaganesh, T.H. Vikku, Shankar Mahadevan, Trilok Gurtu, etc.

What sparked your interest in Nagara in the first place?

The first time that I heard Nagara I was in Pushkar. I was wandering in the bazaar and on the ghat when suddenly a groovy rhythm with beautiful and particular sound came in my ears. After a while, searching for the origin of that sound, I discovered Master Nathu Lal Solanki playing in a temple for the evening puja. He invited me to join and jam and he soon became my teacher because I was so fascinated by that sound and those rhythms. I went in Pushkar 4 times only for playing and studying with him Nagara drums.

How did your tryst with tabla happen?

After some years spent on Nagara it became not enough for me practicing only once a year in India and when I came to know that a great tabla player from Kolkata was living in Rome very near to my
home I decided to move to tabla. When I met this fabulous musician, Sanjay Kansa Banik, I suddenly realised that now I would have had the occasion to study Indian classical music without any interruption. 

What is your opinion regarding tabla in a non classical role on the fusion music scene?

For me tabla is the most expressive and dynamic percussion in the world and it can be used in every kind of music, not only in Indian classical music. Tabla gives a beautiful and harmonic sound to music and above all it gives you a lot of new ideas and rhythmical concepts that can easily be used on drum set and in western and fusion music. Trilok Gurtu is my favourite fusion tabla player and also Zakir Hussain tried to follow this way.

What are the current projects you are undertaking?

Nowadays I'm part of the Ingranaggi della Valle, a rock progressive band which is going to record its second album after having a great success with the first one. With this band I'm starting trying use
Indian percussion on my drum set. Moreover I'm the drummer of Blacknuda, a rock-new wave band which is releasing its debut album, and of Jazz It Up Quartet. This last project that started about 3 years ago is about modern jazz and proposes original tunes and many jazz standards completely renewed and rearranged. With the Jazz It Up Quartet we won an important competition for new young talents of Italian jazz, "Concocorso Chicco Bettinardi 2015" and now we're planning to record our debut album.

How was your experience at the Drummer zone clinic here in Kolkata ?

It was a very nice experience to have my first clinic in my life in Kolkata. Thanks to Nilanjan Ghosh and Tushar Banerjee, the founders of the Drummer zone Project, I had the occasion to share my music
experience with about twenty Indian drummer. I hope that in the future I would have the occasion to show more things to the "drummer family of Kolkata".

Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to expand their skill-set and become a multi percussionist?

Just experiment new sound and use it musically! Keep studying hard and develop your skill, your ideas and your creativity! Listen to lot music and play consciously with your head and your heart! Always practice rudiments and pay a lot of attention to the timing!

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