The Dynamic Drummer Reveals Cross-Cultural Originals
Drum guru Sarah Thawer brings her unique flare to traditional South Asian music as she combines musical elements and fuses genres with her captivating percussive performance.
As charismatic and dynamic as ever, Sarah discusses creating her own brand as a drummer through creativity, humour, and a willingness to think outside the box with her music.
The young artist studied jazz and world music at York University and was the recipient of the Oscar Peterson Scholarship, the highest award given by the institution. She brings together her two areas of study in this episode of MAD with a cross-cultural, traditional meets modern approach to music with “#TheKherwaGroove” and “Gaita.
Born in 2011, MonstrARTity Creative Community is a not-for-profit organization, based in Mississauga and committed to providing entertainment for the young and old alike. The Monster Artist Development (MAD) program is intended to be a learning opportunity for all types of artists, to teach them how to become better versions of themselves and help develop their careers as artists. This program teaches the artists how to market themselves in interviews, how to remain career-focused under the hot studio lights and more. This program also develops artists vital business skills and show them how to correctly interact with the media. The MAD program ultimately provides each artist a unique and tailored support network for them consisting of seasoned artists and music industry experts, this is definitely a program that will transform the artists and help them get to the next level.
I had a chance to speak with Sarah and learn more about her musical journey.
1) How / why did you decide to play the drums, and not another instrument?
Drums for me was love at first sight. I didn’t feel like I chose the drums, I feel that the drums chose me. Growing up in a musical family, I was surrounded by instruments. There were drums in the basement, and as a child I would just start playing them. My father would babysit my twin sister and I by playing Bollywood and Indian songs with us playing drums and singing. Along with playing the acoustic drums, my dad had drum machines and a bunch of music-gadgets laying around. In my childhood, I would have fun with all of it, and one of things I would do is make beats on the drum machine and play with the electronic drum pad. #DrumsIsLife 🙂
2) At what age did you start playing the drums?
I started playing drums at age 2.
3) Who/what inspired you?
Rhythm, beats, grooves and drums always inspired me growing up. If I wasn’t near drums, I was always thinking of beats and rhythms. Music inspired me. I would listen to a lot of music and I wanted to able to play everything I heard and whatever came to my mind. There are tons and tons of drummers and musicians that inspired me back then and of course presently. My grandparents also inspire me. They led by example and showed me the importance of practicing, working hard and to never leave a page unturned. Smiles, kindness, humility, faith, simplicity, just being, humour, fun…. all of that inspires me and plays a big role when I play the drums.
4) Tell our readers more about where you have played and some of the artists you’ve worked with.
I currently tour/play and have played across Canada, US and internationally. Some of the artists that I have performed and shared the stage with are AR Rahman, Salim – Sulaiman, Ruth B, Benny Dayal and Funktuation, Vijay Prakash, Karthik, S S Thaman, Aakanksha Sharma, Aishwarya Nigam, Babul Supriyo, Sadhana Sargam, Osman Mir, Shweta Subram, Mike Downes, Karen Jewels, Roger and Sam Grandison, Natalie Di Luccio, D’bi and the 333, Genevieve Marientette, Rich Brown, Re.verse, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, Buff Justice, Yvette Tollar, Thompson Egbo-Egbo, Maria Mulata, to name a few. I am also endorsed by Vic Firth drum sticks, Evans drum heads, Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals, 64 Audio and Gruv Gear.
5) What would you say is your greatest accomplishment? What was your biggest challenge?
There have been a lot of exciting events that have happened in my music career that I am grateful for. The most recent ones are when I debuted my band with my original music, did my first solo drum show, my first drum clinic, played at a drum festival for the first time and was a judge of a drum off/competition in Brussels, Belgium all within a month. My biggest challenge is to manage my time and to keep a balance between “life” and “work”. I love what I do, and I do not consider it work, so my tendency is to constantly practice, gig and just do music 24/7. As a result, my family and close friends remind me to take it easy and that I need to also have a life outside of music. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
6) What are your goals for this year?
My goals for this year are to continue practicing and improving myself as a drummer, singer and musician, along with continuing to writing my own music, touring and performing!
7) How did you get started with MAD / MonstrARTity?
I have been playing at Bollywood Monster Mashup for the past few years as part of the house band for the headlining performances which led me to meeting and working with MonstrARTity.
8) What has your experience been with MonstrARTity?
It has been an incredible experience. The MonstrARTity team, family rather, are extremely supportive of artists and music lovers. They support independent artists and give a platform to showcase our music.
9) Who have you worked with through MAD?
I have worked with and played in Noyz and Aakanksha Sharma’s session, and had the opportunity of being featured for an episode as well!
10) Anything else you want to share?
Thank you Fusia magazine for having me, and thank you to the readers for reading. 🙂
Follow me on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter : @SarahTDrumGuru
Watch the full third episode of the #MonsterArtist Development series below for an exclusive look at Sarah’s, head-bopping performances