Tradition with a Twist

Oct 05, 2013, 02:54 IST | Fatema Pittalwala

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As the drum beats rise to a crescendo and Navratri nears we find that in this day of remixes, traditional dandiya music with a twist seems to be in vogue.

Full circle: A woman playing garba, during Navratri. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Singer Alpa Shah (42) from Vile Parle says, “Dandiya is Gujarati folk. People crave it all year round. Personally, I prefer traditional songs like Ranglo, Tara vina shyam and my all-time favourite, Krishna bhavan ayla. Since the last four years, I have seen a trend where Nasik Dhol, a Maharashtrian beat, is incorporated in Gujarati folk songs.”

Music director Kashyab Sompura has been playing at dandiya concerts in the US for nearly a decade now, Along with his band Suradhana, Sompura prefers to play to the Indian diaspora in the US. He says, “The Mumbai crowd is more into Bollywood music.

There is this trend of disco dandiya or DJ dandiya here. You have Gujarati, Bollywood and hip-hop music all mixed together. It is appealing to the crowds, but personally it has lost the fragrance of garba. In the US, the audience craves authenticity and sometimes women are not allowed enter a hall, if not in ghagra choli. Whenever I play there, I feel like I am playing in a town like Vadodara or Surat not USA.”

For Kamlesh Mandalia (33) and his band, “One of my favourite songs is Maa na darshan karva na lang lagi. We still play traditional Gujarati songs and occasional Hindi ones. Everyone loves an old song after it is remixed.” He added, “It all also depends on the audience’s taste. Once I had a client and when I met him I thought he would want me to play typical Bollywood music. But to my surprise, he wanted me play only traditional Gujarati songs! He was willing to pay me a lot more and said that if I dare play any Bollywood songs, he would not pay me at all!”

It is Bollywood, no good says Ramzat’s co-founder Nimesh Shah (45). “People don’t want to listen to the Bollywood songs any more. Traditional songs in Mumbai are very unique. As people don’t listen to them regularly, they attract more people.”

Organizer and musician Tusshar Sonigra (47) and his Vile Parle-based band Beast 16 refuse to play Hindi songs, citing licensing problems. He says, “The audience now prefers traditional. We take old songs, and add hip music to them. Songs like Mari gadi ladi, which has very funny words, is amazing to listen to, when you add ‘new-age’ music to it.” 

Top 5 dandiya songs
Odhni odhu toh
Tara vina shyam
Madi tara mandiriyama
Dholi taro dhol  

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