I don’t know that I’ve ever met an artist as focused on her craft as Kiran Gandhi. Where other artists may either shy away from the lens (or worse, bask in its light), Kiran does neither. She hardly seems to notice that I’m there–her one and only focus is percussion.
This is all the more impressive considering that we were occupying a very small space together. Very small. A closet. For this Abditum, I traveled to the home studio of Rhythm and Culture Music, the record label that Kiran and Thomas Blondet run together. It’s a small, unassuming apartment in Dupont Circle equipped with a couple of large screens, a few powerful speakers, some scattered synths, and a makeshift recording space in the closet. I wedged myself into the corner, blanketed on either side by Tom’s impressive collection of flannel shirts, and became all but invisible to Kiran.
It’s amazing the type of dumb luck circumstances that have to come together in order to make a recording space like this possible. When I asked whether or not the noise bothered the neighbors, I learned that there was a mutual agreement between themselves and the supposedly schizophrenic next door tenant. He doesn’t complain when they play their music loud (and it’s loud all the time) and they don’t complain when he hollers at whatever demons plague him. Hey, whatever works.
What I loved most about this space, though, is the ease with which two lives could coexist. I got the impression that the apartment was home to a rotating cast of members: one minute they’re eating dinner, joking around, recounting the previous night, and the next they’re down to the minutia of recording. They can shift seamlessly between these two states, and that isn’t a luxury a lot of artists can afford.
Kiran’s talent speaks for itself. Her percussive gift is lyrical; it has to be to keep our attention for as long as it does. It’s at once calculated and unpredictable, jarring and melodic. She borrowed the backing track from the local DJ Obeyah, but what you see here is an original work.
Kiran is a Senior in the College majoring in Math and Government. She plays a live set with Thomas every Sunday at Eighteenth Street Lounge.
See all the Abditum HERE, email email@example.com if you want to get involved.