Mumbai gets a new music festival

Sep 14, 2016, 09:08 IST | Joanna Lobo

Folk and Fusion music buffs can look forward to a groovy musical ensemble that will liven up Mumbai's music fest calendar

Char Yaar
Char Yaar

Qawwalis with soft Rock, Sufi poetry with Punjabi rhythms, Jazz with Assamese Folk; alternative and EDM music festivals can wait, Indian Folk Fusion is here to make its mark.

These days, musicians are fusing traditional Folk tunes with new-age arrangements and melodies to create an altogether new sound. An upcoming music festival, Paddy Fields, will pay tribute to these musicians with a two-day event that will feature the best of Indian Folk and Fusion music.

"The aim is to showcase Folk music from different regions and juxtapose it with the way it is used in Fusion music," says Shikha Kulkarni, GM, Events & Exhibitions, Nesco, the festival's organisers. It will feature artistes like former India's Got Talent contestant Mame Khan, Bengali artistes Gangadhar and Tulika and Sufi qawwali act Chaar Yaar, The Colonial Cousins, Papon, Dhruv Ghanekar, Salim and Sulaiman, and the Nooran Sisters.

The experiment
"The idea of Paddy Fields is to play pure traditional forms for the purist and give a flavour of contemporary Fusion," says Kulkarni. There will be interesting experiments as well; for instance, composers Salim-Sulaiman will perform with Rajasthani Manganiyar musicians. The Nooran Sisters will perform a blend of traditional and modern Punjabi music.
Delhi band Chaar Yaar creates original compositions using traditional Sufi text, but will experiment with songs and poetry across cultures and genres.

Dhruv Ghanekar
Dhruv Ghanekar

"There are three types of Sufi music. One is darghai music, which happens in the dargah; the other is what people like me do outside dargahs, and the third is what's done by the culture industry. We are independent, neither from dargahs nor part of the industry," says singer Madan Gopal Singh.

At the festival, the band will perform their interpretations of quintessential songs of love. "If I am doing Rumi, while singing I can bring in John Lennon and establish an association between the two."

Composer and guitarist Dhruv Ghanekar believes that Fusion within Indian music isn't necessary but is welcome. "If these experiments are done intelligently and aesthetically, it's good," he says. Ghanekar's latest album Voyage was a musical sojourn blending music from North and West Africa, Jazz, Pop, Assamese Folk and Classic Rock into a single voice. The festival will be part of his tour for Voyage.

"The live project is groove-oriented and more upbeat; it celebrates Folk music in all its forms," he shares. He will be joined by vocalist Kalpana Patowary, Armenian Artur Grigoryan on the saxophone, MC/ rapper Illa Straight from Philadelphia and drummer Andrew Kanga, among others.

The thought
The first edition will feature three regions — Rajasthan (West), Bengal and Assam (East) and Punjab (North). "We chose Folk acts that would represent music from these regions aptly," says Kulkarni. At a time when the city's calendar is filled with EDM and alternative music festivals, is there a need for such a fest? Singh says, "We need such carnivals — where people come together and reach out over music."

On October 15 and 16, 5 pm onwards
At Bombay Exhibition Centre, Goregaon.
Cost Rs 1,150 onwards
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