From courtrooms to Kelham Pride: DJ Kavita Varu takes to the stage

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
For many, it was a brave new world of hoarding toilet paper and hating Carol Baskin. But in a small corner of Sheffield, Covid-19 was introducing a whole new obsession into the mix.

At any other time common sense – by way of concerned friends, family or neighbours – would have been at pains to tell Kavita Varu to act her age and accept what was going on.

But for those months of lockdown all the normal checks and balances were out the window.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

You could get away with any sort of madness once you clicked ‘leave’ on the zoom screen.

DJ by night, lawyer by day Kavita VaruDJ by night, lawyer by day Kavita Varu
DJ by night, lawyer by day Kavita Varu

You were truly on your own. And at that point – those three little words rang true for Kavita Varu more than most.

Her husband had walked out days before Covid-19 became a thing and she entered lockdown single, bitter and alone with her two kids.

For Kavita Varu, a lawyer by day, resilience was pretty standard; her father had instilled it in her.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “I was expelled with my family from Uganda in 1970s by the tyrant dictator Idi Amin. My father had a tough life having been shuttled from country to country before finally arriving into the UK despite holding a British-protected person.”

He fought tooth and nail to keep his family together. His experience would have broken many people.

Kavita Varu definitely needed her father’s resilience. She entered lockdown in a rather different mental state to many but also had music in her DNA.

“My father was an Indian musician, and I was trained in Indian classical music from the age of 3 years old and learned to play the harmonium. I sang Indian folk songs, hymns, prayers and Bollywood tracks in the family music band half of my life.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I found solace in music again in lockdown when I bought some decks to learn a new skill. I DJ Live streamed every Friday at 8pm called Funky Fridays. I quickly amassed an online following during lockdown, and my story lead to interviews with BBC Sounds across the UK.”

It’s fair to say Kavita Varu was no stranger to the dance music scene of old that’s a regular part of set. She’d just been far more used to being in the middle of the dancefloor rather than the conductress of the party.

“I have always loved the club and dance music scene, having partied hard during my University days in Nottingham.”

To say the last few years have been a whirlwind would be an understatement by any standard. And managing to hold down her lawyer alter ego job by day is also pretty impressive.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She hit 50 in lockdown and, unable to celebrate in person with family and friends, decided she was going to throw herself into the world of DJing for the first time and create her perfect party playlist.

Over 90 people joined her first livestream – and she never looked back. A gig at Sheffield’s legendary Leadmill as some sort of post-lockdown normality began to return started to introduce her to live audiences and what might be possible.

Her DJing career has taken her to some of the most iconic bars in Ibiza, performing for the Pussy Cat Dolls at the Piece Hall in Halifax, corporate gigs by the dozen and a guest spot on BBC Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour.

Kavita Varu’s story is one of tenacity, ignoring the rules and proving anything is possible.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I’d always say follow your dreams and go for it. Do it with one hundred percent passion and commitment. Follow your gut instincts.”

This coming weekend she’s set to headline the main stage at the first Kelham Pride Festival. The free event takes place on Saturday, June 1st.

Related topics: