Bass goddess Mohini Dey in Kathmandu
By Mannu Shahi
Mohini Dey, a 22-year-old bass prodigy from India, has awed the musical world by her incredible work ethic, virtuosic playing and her ability to operate in tons of projects at the same time.
Ranking on the top of session musicians’ chart in the music industry globally, she has at this age already collaborated with big and fancy names like Steve Vai, Quincy Jones, Tony Macalpine, Gary Wills, Jordan Rudess, Guthrie Govan, Macro Minnenam, Dave Weckl, Plini, Stu Hamm, Gergo Borlai, and the list continues.
While back home in India, she is the part of the AR Rahaman ensemble, manages her own band Generation Trio (sometimes labeled as Mohini Dey Trio), works as a session musician for movies, and collaborates with Eastern classical as well as rock musicians from all over India.
Born in 1996 to a bassist father and an eastern classical singer mother, she kicked off her career by initially filling in for her father whenever he was busy elsewhere. By the age of 3, she had already started playing the bass, and by 9 she joined a band alongside her uncle and yet another fabulous musician Ranjit Barot.
With Barrot she got a chance to contribute the bass for her first collaboration album, titled Bada boom (2010), that featured musicians like John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain amidst others.
This week, she was here in Kathmandu for her recent collaboration with Nepal’s own metal band Underside. They performed a set last Saturday at Purple Haze Rock Bar, Thamel. This was followed by her solo workshop on August 6, Monday at Tone Music Store, Putalisadak.
Though the concert was a full sell-out show, the workshop had a lesser amount of people participating. Nonetheless, she was phenomenal throughout the workshop, quite interactive with the crowd, sharing her stories and giving genuinely helpful tips on how to grow further as an instrumentalist.
And honestly speaking, in my eight years of career of making music and being around many types of musicians, I had never before heard any bass player live with such finesse in her techniques and such power on her delivery.
Her slaps were so dynamic and strong, her composition such well-crafted, and above all, her timing sense was just off-charts. She even played a rearranged version of a Bollywood number ‘Oh humdum soniyo re!’. And no one could even guess what that was until she started humming along with the keywords.
Yet while given the chance to ask her questions, the Nepali audience, as hesitant as always, couldn’t come through, which might’ve been the lowest point of that workshop. Apart from this, everything else was just brilliant about this experience.