"I got my first mini drum when I was six. Playing different styles on the drums and making people happy excites me," says Bengaluru-based 12-year-old percussionist Stephen Samuel Devassy, who will share the stage with the likes of Taufiq Qureshi, Gino Banks, and Qureshi's band, Mumbai Stamp, comprising Shikharnaad Qureshi, Dipesh Varma, Keyur Barve, Omkar Salunke, Gautam Sharma and Khwab Haria, to celebrate the musical instrument. Titled Mumbai Drum Day 2018, the concert will be held tomorrow.
Devassy credits his family for encouraging him to get into music. "My dad, Sam Devassy, is a violinist and sound engineer, and his brother, Stephen, is a pianist. Getting into music was a natural progression for me. My daddy and mummy allow me to do whatever I enjoy, but they ensure I study daily and practise for two hours. They take me to a lot of music shows," says the young musician.
With Vikku Vinayakram
While the drums are his favourite, Devassy also plays other instruments. "To understand the mathematical secrets to rhythm, my father is making me learn the mridangam. The combination of drums and mridangam is helping me create rhythmic patterns. I am also working on my singing skills," says the prodigy, whose latest number, 10,000 Reasons, has garnered over 10 million views on YouTube. "I like it when everyone congratulates me for my work," he confesses.
While Devassy shares the stage with veterans like "Sivamani uncle and Siddharth [Nagarajan] uncle", he says that he also enjoys drawing and painting at school. "I also have good handwriting. I participate in handwriting contests and win prizes."
Veterans chat with the prodigy
Gino: How much do you practise?
Stephen: I play the drums for two hours daily and the mridangam for an hour.
Gino: Which artistes/bands do you like to listen to?
Stephen: I listen to western as well as Carnatic music, basically whatever my dad plays at home. I watch a lot of music videos online, too. I follow the works of American drummer Tony Royster Jr, Steve Smith and Dave Weckl. I learn a lot from their playing techniques.
Taufiq: What does practising mean to you?
Stephen: Daily practice is a must for me. It's part of my timetable, and makes me confident.
Taufiq: Where do you see yourself in the future?
Stephen: I have not made any plans. I will keep practising and my daddy has said that that is enough.
On: March 15, 7 pm
At: St. Andrews Auditorium, Bandra West
Log on to: bookmyshow.com
Entry: Rs 300