Masala Mix: Show Profile

By Ross Currie

It’s no small task representing all the music of the Indian subcontinent in just an hour time slot. The host’s of Masala Mix, Nirad Chaudhari and Sudhakar Ganti have been up to the task on Sunday Night’s from 8:00-9:00 PM since the show’s conception in 2006. With over 29 provinces and 22 regional languages in Indian alone, not to mention surrounding Pakistan and Bangladesh, Masala Mix does its best to represent the diverse and varied styles of music from the vast region. A blend of classical music (both vocal and instrumental), from the Hindustani (Northern) and Carnatic (Southern) traditions, devotional music from various religions and dialects, Ghazels (poetry), as well as contemporary folk, pop and Bollywood music.

The idea for the show came out of a lack of Indian music programming in the city. “Victoria doesn’t have an Indian music program, although there is a small Indian population over here in Victoria,” says Ganti. “Why don’t we put together a program that represents the complete music sector of India?” The two hosts met through the small Indian community in the city, and were both interested in curating music from the Indian subcontinent in some way. “It was a matter of luck that Sudhakar and I got speaking about this. Then we put a proposal forward and it was accepted, and fortunately there was a slot available,” says Chaudhari.

Both hosts have their preference in what styles they cater to, with Sudhakar leaning more towards instrumental and classical, with Nirad more in favour of vocal and contemporary styles. In this way, the show is split half-and-half between the two hosts. “It’s not conversational in a sense where co-hosts talk to each other, we don’t do that. In this particular case there’s a clear cut genre we want to play,” says Ganti. This offers listeners a distinct blend of various different styles from both hosts.

Masala Mix is also connected to the community through the Society for Indian Classical Arts, a student club run by Ganti to promote Canadian and International artists to perform live. Both hosts agree that the lack of Canadian content for the show is problematic, with a handful of releases each year to choose from.

“I’m so happy that CFUV has allowed us to do this program for so long,” says Ganti. The show has been going strong for nine years, and shows no signs of slowing down. 

“Although it’s just one hour a week, we try to make the most of it and bring a small piece of the Indian, or the Indian subcontinent here for the audience,” says Chaudhari. Masala Mix certainly has a lot to offer for listeners familiar or unfamiliar with the diverse musical makeup of the Indian subcontinent in all its forms and styles.

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