BRITs Apprentice: Aashi Gahlot, Junior Content Producer @ Asian Arts Agency

21February, 2020

I love the music of South Asia. I especially love the music of South Asia that goes beyond the popular commercial culture of Bollywood.

Heart stirring qawwalis of Sufi saints, mystical sounds from Rajasthani deserts and devotional longings of the bhakti musical tradition… I never thought I would be working amongst these very precious genres!

Bristol based, Asian Arts Agency is dedicated to developing, promoting and supporting South Asian Arts across the UK and internationally. The agency toured Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwals – the nephews of legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan and Barmer Boys who are incredible artistes hailing from Rajasthan’s rich traditional musical heritage; and a mesmerising female sarod player, Debasmita Bhattacharya – these artistes are just to name a few! The vision of promoting top quality artistes and their work is a huge factor for me having applied.

Our team members include Jaswinder Singh (Director), Steven Hunt (Projects Co-ordinator) and Jamie Harber (Marketing/Communications Manager). The very first thing I do at the office every morning is make a cup of green (preferably jasmine) tea! Then I browse the social media channels for updates.

The most exciting task so far is learning to use Final Cut Pro X. I love editing together concert footage and repurposing content. The most challenging task is to understand – to really understand – how social media works. This sounds so simple! However, learning what it takes to consistently grow different channels is definitely an exciting challenge.

The most important thing I’ve learnt on my apprenticeship is the importance of being myself. Through being myself, I am able to engage authentically with both my work and colleagues. This choice is helping me flourish both professionally and personally.

Thinking of applying for an apprenticeship? Please do it! You will learn essential skills in a supportive environment whilst being amongst highly experienced professionals. DiVA provide informative webinars, inspiring training days – including master classes hosted by exciting guests! The training and support provided by DiVA is great. The tutors create an approachable learning environment. Myvanwy Evans supports our training sessions and is delightful. A huge thank you to Arit Eminue and team for making these opportunities possible.

My next steps after completing my apprenticeship is to definitely stay on in the music industry and keep on learning – preferably within Asian Arts Agency. I would like to also learn how music and well being are interlinked through developing the sound and mantra meditation work that I am exploring. I am thankful to Gennaro Castaldo (BPI) who organised for me to visit UK’s largest independent music therapy charity, Nordoff-Robbins. The staff went the extra mile to help me get a sense of the life-changing work they do. I had the opportunity to talk with different team members who were passionate about their work. I also spoke one-to-one with an actual music therapist. A truly enriching day!

My BRITs Apprenticeship experience in three words: Blessing. Challenging. Healing.