Not many people in this world are blessed with as many talents as Christabel. She is a Singer, Songwriter, Hula-Hooper, Painter and a DIY enthusiast. A free-spirit, she has no permanent home and believes that being a gypsy is a calling where you cannot sit still.
What struck me the most about her, is that she is a go-getter. The day we met, Christabel was repainting her guitar and needed to find some sandpaper and acetone. She found a hardware store nearby the cafe we met in. But the shop didn't have acetone, which she needed to fix an error. While I was thinking about which tea to order, Christabel darted out of the cafe to a salon nearby and got the acetone! (She promised the kind lady at the salon a look of her guitar when done).
She continued multi-tasking by talking about her journey and painting at the same time...
Q) When did you start singing?
A: I was always singing in choirs and was in a band in college with my best friends. But when I was probably 26, I moved to England where for the first time in my life I felt liberated. I found my voice as a stranger in a strange land. When I got back to India, I started performing and people would come up to me and say, "I hope that you do this for a living" and that surprised me a lot as I had seen so much rejection before!
Q) Were your parents supportive of your choices?
A) Yes. I lost my father when I was 12. But when he was alive, we were very close. He is the one who gave me my unique name and I think that encouraged me to lead an unusual life. My father used to tell me, "Remember if you ever meet another Christabel, you are the first one." I think I found my talent late in life as I lost his support very early on. In a way my music is my connection to my dad. My mum is amazing too. She has never asked me to do anything as per her wishes and is incredibly supportive. My mother is proud of me and lives vicariously through me.
Q) Did you ever consider pursuing art as your career?
A) Maybe when I am 50. (smiles) I am just learning and getting better. But if tomorrow, someone says, "I have a guitar, would you paint it for me?" I would be down for it. I am also a Hula-Hooper, I have done stage shows and take workshops as well. Plus I sew clothes and do a lot of DIY projects. But as a friend of mine says, to be really successful, choose one thing and stick to it. When it comes to an undeniable passion, It has to be music for me. It is something I can never be discouraged from doing. So that's why it is my main source of income...
Q) What do you think is the difference between you and a traditional woman artisan in Kutch?
A) There is none. I am living from my art and they are living from theirs.
Q) Lastly, what would be the one piece of advice you would want to give to aspiring musicians?
A) A musician from Arambol had once told me, " You don't have the right to be nervous because you are nothing but a channel for the music." That is something I always remember and swear by.
Thank you Christabel!!