Naveen Kumars name may not ring a bell but his flute tunes certainly strike a chord as they play in the track Chammak challo from Ra.One,Zara zara mehekta hai from Rehena Hai Tere Dil Mein or in the brooding theme song of the movie Bombay. The Mumbai-based artiste,who has been working in the Hindi and the South Indian film industries for almost three decades,has now come up with his third album FluteTronics.
Born into a family that had Gospel music as a part of their daily lives,Kumar started his musical career at the age of 13. Playing with his father,also a flautist,and brother,Kumar performed at many local concerts and even for the Vishakhapatnam radio. Playing the flute comes naturally to me. I enjoy listening to a tune and customising it in my own way to make a beautiful score, says Kumar.
His entry into the film industry happened when he worked with noted music director Illayaraja in 1984 for a Tamil film. Since then,he has worked with several music directors such as AR Rahman,Pritam,Shankar,Ehsaan and Loy,Sajid-Wajid,and Salim and Suleiman. He has recently worked with acclaimed record producer and music engineer Tony Maserati,who has won a Grammy.
For his third album,Kumar has collaborated with noted Indian-American musician Karsh Kale. Karsh has produced three tracks from the album, says Kumar. FluteTronics has eight tracks that have an interesting blend of Kumars flute with woodwinds and electronica. Other musicians on this album are guitarist Sanjay Divecha,rapper Blaaze and violinist Kalyan Sundaram. The album also features a song sung by Kumars 15-year-old son,Jean Naveen.
With more and more Indian as well as Hollywood projects pouring in,Kumar is very busy these days. He is also part of Rahmans core team of musicians. But creating music is what Kumar is passionate about,even with the rigorous schedules. Be it an advertisement jingle,a sitcom score,a film or a live performance,I love creating something new out of nothing, says Kumar.
Kumar is also fond of collecting flutes. With around 300 flutes,I probably have the largest collection in India, he says,adding that he has flutes from Switzerland,China,South Africa and the US.