Heed this warning

Updated: Feb 22, 2020, 09:18 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

City hip-hop crew Swadesi will dish out well-meaning advice at the launch of their debut album, Chetavni

(From left) Saurabh Abhyankar, Dharmesh Pamar, Yash M Mahida, Tushar Adhav and Aklesh Sutar of Swadesi
(From left) Saurabh Abhyankar, Dharmesh Pamar, Yash M Mahida, Tushar Adhav and Aklesh Sutar of Swadesi

Chetavni is a double-edged word. On one hand, it could have a threatening watch-out-I'm-coming-to-get-you kind of meaning. On the other, it might be construed as a piece of friendly advice. Local hip-hop crew Swadesi meant the latter when they used the term for the title of their debut album, which they will launch at a gig next week. They have earlier been known to not mince words with singles like The Warli Revolt, where the lyrics held a dagger to the state government's throat in response to the incessant tree felling inside Aarey Colony. But here, they are talking to you, the citizen. They are asking you to be more aware of your rights as a free-thinking member of our democracy.

The inaugural title track in fact consists only of vocal samples from political speeches, news clippings about issues like Gauri Lankesh's murder, and bits from Vivek, the Anand Patwardhan-made documentary that warns you against being blindfolded and herded like sheep. That same theme runs through the rest of the tracks, which puncture holes not just in governmental lies, but also in societal hypocrisies. This is out-and-out conscious rap, a genre meant to grab us by the shoulders and shake us awake in case we have been dormant observers of the injustices around us.

Aklesh Sutar aka MC Mawali tells us that the album has been two to three years in the making, since they stewed the songs for a while before serving them. The 26-year-old says, "We were constantly collaborating with other people in the meantime, which caused further delays." Either way, good things come to those who wait. Chetavni is a polished effort that glistens with a steely resolution to make the world a better place. So catch the songs being performed live when Swadesi plays them in the city. That's the piece of friendly advice that we will leave you with.

On February 26, 9 pm
At AntiSocial, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Lower Parel.
Log on to insider.in
Cost Rs 200

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