Seattle-born Nash Naubert first visited India in 1999 as a tourist. The music, the culture, and the natural beauty, especially of the Himalayas, drew him here. In 2003, he decided to move to Mumbai, and settled in Bandra.
What sets Naubert apart from the many foreigners who’ve chosen to call the city home, is that he’s a professional bansuri player. He claims he’s the only American living in Mumbai and playing at Indian classical concerts. A senior disciple of Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, he will perform morning ragas this weekend at Pitaara – The Art Box. “It will be a traditional Hindustani classical bansuri solo performance, and I will be accompanied by a tabla player. I have always been drawn to the sound of instruments made from bamboo. The bansuri has such a soothing quality to it,” he says.
The vastness of Indian classical music is what appeals the most to Naubert. “Ten years ago, I would have said that is what scared me the most. Now, I see the full potential of Indian classical music, and I want to help showcase it to the world.”
He distinctly recalls the first time he met Chaurasia, and admits he was extremely nervous. “I still am,” he laughs, adding, “Actually, he is a sweet and simple person. And he is always trying to become a better person and artist, even at his age. He is quite active and doesn’t like to stay in one place for too long.”
Growing up, Naubert was always passionate about the arts, music and literature. He trained in vocals, and became interested in world music during his adolescence. He even practised playing the didgeridoo (a native Australian wind instrument) every day while in college. He learnt about many forms of music but Indian classical music intrigued him the most.
He also has a fusion band, Nash and Indrakali. “I play Indian ragas but with a back track of electronic music to give it a western feel,” he says.