I am so excited to announce that on this week’s episode of “Sweet Han’: Caribbean Cooking with Sarina” I’ll be highlighting the compositions of local sitarist Sharda Patasar. Daughter of legendary local sitarist Mungal Patasar, Sharda is strongly forging her own path in this traditionally male dominated arena.
Trained in Classical Indian music her most recent music projects included the musical score for the locally produced film “Coolie Pink and Green” (2009), a film by Patricia Mohammed. The film won People’s Choice for Best Short Film at the Movietowne Film Festival, Trinidad 2009, and was selected for the Pravasi Film Festival, New Delhi 2010. Sharda also composed a piece in collaboration with Australian born UK based pianist Tom Donald for Mohammed’s 2010 film “17 Colours and a Sitar”. Sharda’s work includes local and foreign performances, the most recent being youth representative for Trinidad at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Forum, Perth, Australia, 2011. She has also worked on an experimental fusion album in London with Remigrant Records featuring piano, bass clarinet and sitar (2008).
In 2012 Sharda was appointed the Commonwealth Resounds Youth Ambassador for Caribbean countries. The Commonwealth Resounds is a UK based organization headed by Alison Cox (OBE), Head of Music Composition at the Purcell School for Young Musicians, London. Sharda is currently working with other young musicians in Trinidad to blend their respective genres of music with her own.
In addition to music, Sharda writes monthly articles on culture for the Trinidad and Tobago Review and is currently completing her PhD.in Cultural Studies. Her academic and musical pursuits inform and fuel each other.
TG: Is the work you are doing now what you dreamed of as a kid?
SP: For the most part yes. As a kid I thought I’d be a painter/writer/musician but the painting eventually faded off into the distance in my late teens as studies and music started to take prominence. I now sketch and paint as relaxation when I need a break from writing and music.
TG: How do you think growing up in Trinidad has shaped your culinary outlook?
SP: Well I’m not sure growing up in Trinidad shaped my culinary outlook as much as helping my dad when he’s cooking. I suppose his experience in Trinidad filtered down to me more than my exposure initially. He always says that if you like to eat then you should learn to cook. He loves experimenting with flavours pulling together influences from Indian cuisine, Trinidad and just about everything else that he tastes so it’s always exciting helping him in the kitchen. That’s mainly where I learnt not to stick with set recipes. It’s only in recent times that Trinidad has started to become a conscious part of my cooking.
TG: When at home, what do you like to eat?
SP: Ground provisions, salads and grilled fish. Pumpkin and roti is a favourite too.
TG: What is your funniest kitchen incident?
SP: Hmm…I’ll have to shuffle through my memory to find that. Not too sure, unless of course you count burning my dogs’ meat and rice on a regular basis? How difficult is it to boil meat and rice together?
TG: If you could pick one place in the world this year to have a culinary vacation. Where would you go and why?
Bali, mainly because I know very little about Balinese cuisine and culture so I’d love to visit to experience both.
Catch Sharda’s performance on “Sweet Han’: Caribbean Cooking with Sarina” below! Visit the event page for more details!